How I Use It
I created an entire unit for "A Midsummer Night's Dream" using resources from the Folger Library. They had a lot of reference information for students to understand some of the cultural significances of the gender roles, and they had a LOT of great lessons using primary sources to understand the situations of the play. One particularly great piece was a primary document called "The Mysteries of Love & Eloquence, or the Arts of Wooing and Complementing", originally published in 1600s. This is basically a handbook of how to win a lady's heart, and mirrors the actions of the lovers in the play. Students were very interested and amused by some of the societal norms of courtship that definitely wouldn't "fly" by today's standards. In reading this source document obtained from the Folger Library, students were able to understand some of the seemingly idiotic things the lovers do in the play, and had a deeper feeling of empathy for their plight that would otherwise have been missed entirely.
This tool requires a LOT of teacher preparation. There is so much information to sift through to pull out the quality pieces that will help your students, but there is so much here that it would be a crime to not use it when teaching Shakespeare. The plays can be difficult enough to understand on their own, so using these resources can help students connect and make their experienced enriched in a way that the play itself will not do for most of our students.