The Kleist Museum is devoted to the life and work of author Heinrich von Kleist (1777–1811), who was born in Frankfurt (Oder). It was opened in the building of the former garrison school in 1969 and is viewed as “one of the most attractive literature museums in Europe” (Die Zeit, 2000). The Kleist Museum is listed in the Federal Government’s “Blue Book” as a cultural memorial site of national significance.
With a library and collections containing more than 34,000 registered objects, the museum currently boasts the most comprehensive documentation relating to Heinrich von Kleist, his life, and his place in literary history. The development of the collections concentrates primarily on the acquisition of primary and secondary evidence regarding the life and work of Heinrich von Kleist. This includes works of fine art as well as exhibits from the performing arts and music.
In addition, the museum is responsible for the estates of poets Ewald Christian and Franz Alexander von Kleist as well as Caroline and Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué. Since 1996 the Kleist / Minde-Pouet estate has been kept in the Kleist Museum on permanent loan from the “Foundation of the Central State Library in Berlin”.
Currently the exhibition Kleist: Krise und Experiment on the first floor of the building constructed by Martin Friedrich Knoblauch in 1777 provides a survey of Kleist’s life and work and informs visitors about aspects of his subsequent influence.
Changing exhibitions in the cabinet and studio supplement this presentation. Besides its collecting, research and publishing activities, the museum programme includes readings, lectures and literary-musical events. In the summer months, the museum’s garden beside the River Oder is used for events. The high points of the year are the spring festival organised by the “Friends of Kleist Museum” to mark International Museum Day in May and the Kleist Festival, which takes place annually in October. The museum’s education service lays emphasis on work with young people.
The Kleist Museum invites its visitors to pursue an interest in the life, work and influences of Heinrich von Kleist.