Current Exhibitions


 The Art of Biography: Beethoven and Steinbeck Exhibit

 April 13 - July 31, 2019
Video Introduction

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

Accessible for the disabled

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 visitor information for directions and parking 


Sponsored by a San Jose State University Artistic Excellence Programming Grant, and SVCreates.

Curated by Patricia Stroh, with assistance from Dr. Erica Buurman and Dr. Grant Cook

 Thanks also for assistance from our graphic designer Emma Spitzer, as well as Dr. William George, Eric Gjovaag, Dulce Hernandez, Bruce Lackovic, Fred Saunders, and Janice Zelaya


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.