Collections


The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust portrait of William Shakespeare


Outstanding Collections in Shakespeare’s home town

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust cares for the world's largest collection of Shakespeare related material accessible by the public. Situated in the centre of Shakespeare's hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, our Collections have been designated as being of international importance.

Our Collections include:

Library Collection

Printed materials and books relating to Shakespeare’s works life and times, including translations of the plays into over 80 languages. Within our library collection we look after three First Folios and a range of important early printed books, which inspired Shakespeare’s genius.

Local History Archive Collection 

Material relating to Stratford-upon-Avon and South Warwickshire, with records as far back as the twelfth century and a number of handwritten documents referring to William Shakespeare from his own lifetime.

We also have copies of the Stratford Herald dating back to 1861 (microfilm / bound volumes).

Museum Collection

Over 11,000 objects, which give an insight into the material world that Shakespeare and his family would have experienced, as well as a record of how his life and works have inspired art and tourism over the past few centuries.

Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) Archive

Photographs, programmes, designs and production records covering the history of the RSC and its predecessor, the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, from 1879 to the present. The theatre's collection also includes a wealth of pre-twentieth century theatre ephemera relating to London and other regional theatres, including the Bram Stoker Collection.

 

Accessing our Collections online

Browse our Treasures pages, which introduce some of our most celebrated items.

Or delve deeper and explore the whole span of our collections using our Online Catalogues pages.

For blog-posts, videos and article series from our dedicated Collections team, check out our blog at Finding Shakespeare.

 

Visiting our Collections

To see our Collections first hand, visit our Reading Room to view books and documents. The reading room is located within the Shakespeare Centre on Henley Street in Stratford-upon-Avon. Our normal opening hours are:

     Wednesday to Friday: 10.00am – 4.30pm
     Saturday: 9.30am – 12.30pm
     Sunday to Tuesday: Closed

Closures: Easter and Shakespeare’s Birthday
Please note, the Reading Room will be closed on Good Friday (3rd April) and Easter Saturday (4th April) and will re-open as normal on Wednesday 8th April.  We will also be closed on Saturday 25th April as staff will be taking part in the annual Birthday Celebrations.

 

 

It is possible to arrange access to the collections outside normal opening hours, with plenty of notice. Please read our terms and conditions of access.

As you may be aware we have increased our staff levels this year to improve customer service and security by having an extra member of staff on duty each afternoon.

As part of our commitment to continually improve our Reading Room Service we are now consulting our readers about our opening hours. We would like your views on the current pattern of opening as well as your aspirations for any future improvements. While we are not in a position to increase opening hours at present the findings of this survey will be used to help with our forward planning.

We would be very grateful if you could spare a few minutes to complete this online survey:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JRDQ8SV

 

Visit Shakespeare's Family Homes to see artwork, furniture and smaller objects from Shakespeare’s world on display.

Enhance your next visit to Stratford-upon-Avon by downloading the free Eye Shakespeare app for iPhone and iPad users. The app showcases our treasures in the context of Shakespeare's Family Homes, and provides a unique view of the streets of Shakespeare's Stratford.