On Friday, Nov. 11th, a group of almost 30 Cedarville students had the chance to go on a day trip to learn more about the beloved bard, William Shakespeare. The students were led by English professors Peggy Wilfong and Scott Calhoun.
Dr. Wilfong, professor of the Shakespeare class offered here on campus, encouraged all the students in her section to go along on the trip. Mostly English students joined the class but other majors were represented as well.
The trip was focused on viewing a “First Folio,” which is currently housed the Frazier Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, and learning more about Shakespeare himself.
According to the Folger Shakespeare Library, The First Folio is the earliest known collection of Shakespeare’s plays. It was published only seven years after his death by a duo of fellow actors who wanted his work to be remembered. Without the First Folio, 18 of Shakespeare’s plays would not be known today, including Antony and Cleopatra, As You Like It, and Macbeth. Out of the 750 copies that were made, only 235 are still known to exist. Of those copies, many of them exist in one collection, including the copy on display in the Frazier. The Folio is an excellent example of how important and influential Shakespeare was, even during his own life.
Along with the First Folio on display, there were also several other exhibits featuring the importance of Shakespeare in the past and in the present world we live in.
“Doing nerdy things with fellow nerds is a really great way to kindle our common passion for literature and language,” said English Major and Shakespeare class student Laura Ullom in anticipation of the trip. “I do also look forward to being mere inches away from Shakespeare’s work. That’s gonna be cool.”
Part of Ullom’s wish was granted on the way to the museum. However, the Folio itself didn’t quite hold up to her expectations.
“On the way there, we got to have lots of nice, literary conversation, so I got my wish there, I was very satisfied with that,” Ullom said. “Once we got there, we saw the Folio. That was cool. It was a bit different than I was expecting though, there was the book and some quotes on the wall… A few displays. I would have liked a bit more.”
Brandon Best, another student who went on the trip, said he liked the Folio a bit more than Ullom did.
“I really enjoyed seeing the Folio. Four hundred years after Shakespeare’s death, it’s meaningful to see how much English society prized his work back then,” he said.
The Shakespeare exhibit also featured a question and answer session about the Bard and the First Folio with some experts, something that both students said they enjoyed.
The Cedarville group’s trip included lunch and a tour of the rest of the Frazier museum.
“I enjoyed the rest of the Museum a lot more than I was expecting to,” said Ullom. “We saw different displays for different time periods and talked about them.”
Ullom said her favorite parts of the trip as a whole were the community aspects of the experience.
“As a Junior, I really enjoyed meeting some of the freshman from the department who decided to go on the trip, because I really like having the community aspect of getting to know everybody I’m studying with,” she said.
Best echoed this sentiment, also saying he enjoying his time with the Cedarville community.
“I always love spending time with the English Department. We loves to engage each in other in meaningful conversations,” he said.
For all the community that was to be had on the trip, there was also learning. As to what Ullom learned on the trip, she said she was surprised with what she ended up coming away with from the other exhibits in the museum.
“I was wanting to learn a lot about Shakespeare but it was such a small exhibit,” she said. “What I really learned most about though was Pearl Harbor.” She specifically was impacted by letters from family members about and to those who died in the horrific attack from World War II. Ullom also liked an exhibit on the Prohibition, so much so that it’s going to be the subject of a paper coming in the near future.
Best said he especially enjoyed the Pearl Harbor exhibit but mainly focused on the time he was able to spend in the museum away from campus with people he enjoys.
“I went for the experience mostly. We enjoyed a respite from our rigorous course load and a time to recreate ourselves as a department,” he said. “We were gone from 8 in the morning to 6 at night, so it was a nice break.”
Overall, the trip was an enjoyable time of learning, community, and new experiences and will be a favorite of those who went on it for years to come. Even though the Shakespeare First Folio wasn’t the ultimate highlight for some, it surely emphasized the importance of the Bard in the world of today and yesterday.
Callahan Jones is a sophomore journalism major and a writer and web designer for Cedars. He enjoys owning more pairs of headphones than one could ever need and spending time with friends.