Current Exhibitions


Beethoven walkingJanuary 7 - March 31, 2019
"A Short Biography of Beethoven"

An exhibit exploring Beethoven's life and works using rare materials from the Beethoven Center's collection, including manuscripts, first editions, rare books, and 19th-century engravings

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library
Beethoven Center, Room 580
Current hours

Accessible for the disabled

See visitor information for directions and parking 

The Art of Biography : Beethoven and Steinbeck
Grand Opening Presentation

April 13, 2019 from 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
With special guest speakers Dr. Grant William Cook III and Dr. Theodore Albrecht
Reception to follow

Dr. Grant Cook "Dwight's 'Diarist,' Alexander Wheelock Thayer:
Searching for Beethoven in Paris and London."

Professor Grant Cook from the University of Mount Union chronicles the travels of Alexander Wheelock Thayer, the famed American biographer of Beethoven who in the 1860s sought out and interviewed Beethoven's still-living contemporaries in Europe. Along the way, he sent regular reports of his adventures for publication in Dwight's Journal of Music. Come hear fascinating new details of Thayer's travels, the people and music he encountered, and the sources mined for Dr. Cook's biography of the biographer.

For full abstract, click here.

Dr. Ted Albrecht"Beethoven, a Boy Named Sue, and a Man Named Sandra: New Perceptions from the Deaf Composer's Conversation Books."

Professor Ted Albrecht from Kent State University explores how in 1818, as his hearing deteriorated, Beethoven began using blank booklets so his acquaintances could write their sides of conversations while the composer replied aloud. Dr. Theodore Albrecht is preparing a new, user-friendly English edition of these Conversation Books that contains fascinating new details about Beethoven's life and works  jumping off of virtually every page. Hear him discuss how old myths fall by the wayside and a new, more human Beethoven emerges from these pages to a greater degree than ever before.

For full abtract click here.


The Art of Biography: Beethoven and Steinbeck Exhibit

 April 13 - July 31, 2019. 

Thayer's Passport

This exhibit will be a joint venture between the the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies and the Martha Heasley Cox Center for Steinbeck Studies in exploring the history of biography of their famous namesakes.

The Beethoven Center's portion of the exhibit illuminates the research of famed Beethoven biographer Alexander Wheelock Thayer (1817-1897), an American diplomat and journalist who was the first writer to systematically document Beethoven's life. Using resources from the recently-acquired Gertrude Behr Family Thayer Collection,Alexander Wheelock Thayer the exhibit traces Thayer's research trips to Europe to interview Beethoven's contemporaries and examine important documents. The exhibit features photographs of some of Beethoven’s descendants; Thayer's passport and travel documents; original manuscript letters; and even one of Beethoven's shirts sold at the auction of his estate in 1827. Thayer's dress uniform, worn during his appointment by President Abraham Lincoln to the US Consul in Trieste--complete with gloves, sword and helmet--will also be on display. Other sections of the exhibit explore original sources on Beethoven's life including letters and diaries; authentic portraits of Beethoven; and famous biographical blunders and current controversies.

                                               Thayer's Travel Document


See also our online exhibits.


Guevara Lock of Beethoven's Hair

Lock of Beethoven's Hair

The "Guevara Lock of Beethoven's Hair," which had been on continuous display for twelve years, has been removed from the Center's exhibits for an indefinite period. Please stay tuned for updates on our hair exhibit page.