What did the world’s greatest historical figures say to others and to themselves? What were they really thinking? Find out at this display of letters, manuscripts and other texts selected for their significance. Many times additional insight into an artist’s life provides context, understanding, and deeper meaning for their works. Personal letters and documents provide a peek into the lives behind public personas. The museum has more than 140,000 from prominent figures such as kings, emperors, writers, painters, musicians, politicians, and inventors who altered the course of history.
The permanent collection is divided into in four sections: art, history, literature, and science. There’s sheet music from Mozart and Beethoven, cards decorated by Picasso, informal sketches from Matisse, original manuscripts of Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway, and letters written by Charlemagne and Winston Churchill, among others. Temporary exhibitions delve deeply into the life and works of a single figure.