Current Exhibitions

The Beethovens on the Rhine: 

Exploring Beethoven's Love of Nature

January 21 - extended indefinately

Learn about the Beethoven family in Bonn and the natural world of Beethoven's childhood home.



In 1733, Ludwig van Beethoven’s grandfather arrived in Bonn, Germany, a small town along the Rhine River, to work as a court musician. The family lived in this town for the next two generations. This exhibition illustrates how everyday life in Bonn shaped Beethoven’s upbringing, and how the beautiful Rhineland helped to foster his lifelong love of nature. It traces Ludwig’s trip up the Rhine with his mother, musical tours, and his four-month visit to Vienna when he was barely sixteen. While examining the hardships and adventures of his childhood, the exhibition explores Bonn’s cultural life and Beethoven’s general and musical education. The continuation of the exhibition inside the Beethoven Center features Bonn’s celebration of the 75th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth in 1845 with the unveiling of a monument in his honor.



Curated by Erica Buurman and Patricia Stroh

With the assistance of Eric Gjovaag and Janice ZelayaBonn

Funded in part by the American Beethoven Society, the Farrington Historical Foundation, the Office of Cultural Affairs of the City of San José, and SJSU’s College of Humanities & the Arts

The Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies, San José State University, 5th floor of the Martin Luther King Jr. Library, Room 580, San Jose, CA 95192


See visitor information for directions and parking  


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.