"The Shakespeare Gallery" kiosks.

Wednesday, February 10, 1999; Page H02

The Folger Shakespeare Library has introduced a new, permanent multimedia exhibition designed to allow visitors a close look at some of the Folger's most precious treasures and rare materials. Books, art and manuscripts, some too delicate to handle, have been photographed and digitized and made easily accessible to everyone in two computer kiosks in "The Shakespeare Gallery."

The exhibit is organized around Shakespeare's "Seven Ages of Man" passage in As You Like It -- from infancy to old age -- and loosely fits topics pertaining to the culture of the Elizabethan age and Shakespeare's life and work.

For example, kiosk users can learn about birthing practices in Elizabethan England, contemporary ideas about death and dying or what is known of Shakespeare's early education.

The Shakespeare Gallery is open during regular Folger public hours, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and is closed on public holidays. Admission is free.

The library, at 201 East Capitol St. SE, also is featuring the exhibition "Designs from Fancy: The Shakespeare Drawings of George Romney," in the Great Hall. Romney, a respected 18th century portrait painter, produced hundreds of drawings on literary subjects, many of them Shakespearean. More than 100 of his drawings are on display through March 20.

On Saturday, Feb. 13, 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., the library is offering a family program called "Turtledoves and Heartsease." Folger docent Francie Owens is to explore ancient folklore about birds and flowers. Tickets are $10. 202-544-7077.

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