ATTENTION! Due to construction work the museum is temporarily closed.
Tuesday to Sunday
11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
opened on all holidays, with the exception of December 24 and 31.
The history of the Richard Wagner Collection begins in Austria. Nicolaus Oesterlein is among the group of unconditional admirers of the Bayreuth master. He believed in the future of Wagnerian art and with great energy already in Richard Wagner's lifetime collected pictures and busts, letters and writings, playbills as well as a comprehensive library with approximately 5,000 volumes. In 1887, he opened a private museum in Vienna, but soon felt compelled to put the collection with approximately 20,000 objects up for sale.
The Eisenach citizen Professor Joseph Kuerschner, well-known through the encyclopedia and literature catalog edited by him, advocated the purchase of the collection by the city of Eisenach. In 1895, the Oesterlein Collection was purchased and housed in the Villa of Fritz Reuter and in 1897 presented to the public as the Reuter-Wagner Museum.
Since 1997 the Oesterlein Collection, which is the second largest Wagner collection in the world, can be seen in a remodeled exhibition. The visitors await among other things a library which includes 5,000 volumes, a selection of 200 manuscripts by Richard Wagner, the piano on which he played as well as the score of "Rienzi".
Germany possesses musical traditions and legacies of extraordinary value: Handel, Schuetz and Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms, and Wagner - to mention only a few names - are composers who are known and treasured throughout the world. Their work has played a significant role in shaping a unique musical landscape.
Numerous orchestras, choruses, ensembles, renowned music festivals and series, music houses with museums, public archives and libraries, but also private collections preserve their musical heritage.
It is necessary to revitalize this inestimable fund again and again and to develop it for the present. At the same time, an important role befits the houses combined in the consortium of music museums of Germany. In them we encounter the work of the musicians and composers who have extraordinarily enriched the cultural nation of Germany. However, beyond the individual portrait, beyond the procurement of individual oeuvres, the music museums also contribute overall to the maintenance of musical tradition. The present brochure underscores this aspect of the synoptic presentation and invites the reader on a journey into the musical history of Germany. I hope this tour guide will be actively used and receive a large response.Bernd Neumann, Member of the Lower House of the German Parliament
Minister of State with the Federal Chancellor
Commissioner of the Federal Government for Culture and Media
Quoted from: Foreword to the brochure "Music Museums in Germany", 2007.