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Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsThe Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is all about bringing Shakespeare to life. And that's for everybody, whether you're a lifelong Shakespearean expert, or whether it's the first encounter with Shakespeare. We're all about making these experiences come alive and be really meaningful for people.

Skip to 0 minutes and 22 secondsWe are a charity. We don't get any regular government funding. So we're really reliant on every volunteer, every visitor, every donor.

Skip to 0 minutes and 37 secondsThere's something really important about experiencing history where it happened. There's a feeling you can get in the pit of your stomach when you're in the real place seeing the real thing. And coming to Stratford does that for people.

Skip to 1 minute and 3 secondsWe've got this collection which consists of the Shakespeare family home. There are five houses that were connected with Shakespeare and his immediate family, places that he would have walked, the streets he would have walked on, sometimes the actual floors and the original flooring that he would have walked on.

Skip to 1 minute and 25 secondsThe joy you get when you take somebody new down, open up a box in the archives, and the excitement that they see-- because they are seeing it for the first time-- reminds you of why it's so important for us and so special for us to be working these collections. That direct connection back to Shakespeare the man is what people really like when it comes to Stratford. Things like the parish register, where people can feel that direct connection back to Shakespeare. There's his baptism record. There's him being recorded in the world for the first time, if you like. The other artefact that really resonates with visitors and makes them take stock and go, wow, is the first folio.

Skip to 2 minutes and 2 secondsThis is the book where the plays appear together for the first time. And without that book, we would have lost 18 of them in the mists of time. There's a number of different challenges that face us here looking after these collections. There's obviously the scale of them. And the fact that they continue to grow means that storage is an ever increasing issue. And each of those items needs to be catalogued. We might want to digitise it to make it available to our audiences not just here in Stratford but around the world. And then we might want to conserve certain artefacts to make sure that they survive not for the next year, next five years, but forevermore.

Skip to 2 minutes and 45 secondsThis spot where we're standing now is really very, very special indeed. It's the place where Shakespeare had his home, his family home where he brought his children up, where he slept, where he read, where he possibly wrote. Here in this site for 19 years, in time the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death in 2016, we really do need to celebrate the site and tell and show people just how important it is. I was doing some guiding in the birth room, and I was talking to a Chinese student. And she clearly was very, very moved. And she said at one point, could she say a Chinese blessing. So I said, yes, of course you can.

Skip to 3 minutes and 35 secondsSo she stood at the bottom of the bed, and then she started to cry. And she finished, and she bowed. And she said, thank you for giving the world William Shakespeare.

Skip to 3 minutes and 57 secondsI think the unifying thing through all the work we do is that we encourage people to make their own connections, to make their own discoveries, and conversation, whether it's with a seven-year-old who's heard of word of Shakespeare for the first time or whether it's with that 90-year-old who's been going to see plays for 50 years. For us, it's about making sure that people not only understand but they also enjoy. There is something there for everybody, whether it's a touching point with a human story that's been told and a way of expressing an emotion that you've felt but not been able to voice for yourself, or whether it's just the pure excitement of learning about historical characters.

Skip to 4 minutes and 36 secondsOur work is to actually make sure that people can find that connection.

The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust and Collections

This course uses the extensive resources and collections from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The Trust is the world’s leading charity promoting the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s work and life. To find out more about the Trust, their work, collections, and sites, please visit their website: http://shakespeare.org.uk/.

The primary source material – artefacts, documents and books – that Professor Bate will be using each week has been selected almost entirely from the Museum, Library and Archive collections of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-upon-Avon. We’ve provided links to further information available online, for the majority of the items that Jonathan refers to in the videos. If you’d like to look at other information from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, take a look at the following websites:

Finding Shakespeare (collections information): http://findingshakespeare.co.uk/

Blogging Shakespeare (more general academic research on Shakespeare): http://bloggingshakespeare.com/

Under each video, we have also included the reference number for each collections item. If you’d like to access the items first-hand, you can visit the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Reading Room in Stratford-upon-Avon and request an item to look at. Find out more at: http://www.shakespeare.org.uk/explore-shakespeare/collections.html

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This video is from the free online course:

Shakespeare and his World

The University of Warwick