University of Bremen Is Guest in the Cathedral Museum

Around 1800, Wilhelm Christian Müller was the chief initiator of bourgeois cultural life in Bremen. The work and life of the cathedral precentor, educationalist and writer have until now gone rather unnoticed in the Hanseatic City of Bremen. Until in 2012 an acknowledged Müller expert came to the University of Bremen: Christian Kämpf, a doctoral student at the Institute of Musicology and Music Pedagogy. Together with a group of his students he has created an exhibition in the Dom-Museum [Bremen cathedral museum].

Students unearth a treasure hidden in the library

The background to the story was a research seminar Kämpf held for students of musicology and history at the University of Bremen. The objective: To unearth a long-forgotten treasure in the main University library, where a large body of works from the estate of Wilhelm Christian Müller (1752 to 1831) are stored. The large bundle of handwritten documents, lecture manuscripts, spontaneous poetry, librettos for cathedral music, travel stories, letters and illustrated elementary textbooks had never been the subject of scholarship – until the students set about the task under the leadership of Christian Kämpf.

A legacy of treasures

The results of their research can now be seen in the Dom-Museum until 7th February 2015. Over 50 exhibits are on view in eight display cabinets. The University printers have prepared 15 large-scale posters in the style of ancient scrolls for visitors to the museum. They contain information on Müller’s life history, his travels, meetings with famous contemporaries of his time, and details of the pedagogical achievements in the school he founded. Among the exhibits is a thousand-page “Introduction to the Science of Music”, Müller’s handwritten letter of application for the position of cathedral precentor submitted in 1783, his Magister thesis and doctoral degree certificate.

A lock of Beethoven‘s hair

Several loaned items add to the exhibition’s attraction. For instance, a handwritten document penned by Robert Schumann that quotes Müller‘s music aesthetic views. Moreover a letter from Ludwig van Beethoven addressed to the Bremen Cathedral precentor with a lock of Beethoven’s hair – in those days a gesture of friendly appreciation. The loaned objects come from the Beethoven-Haus Bonn and the  Robert-Schumann-Haus in Zwickau. The exhibition is supported financially by the Karin und Uwe Hollweg Stiftung and the Sparkassenstiftung Bremen.

The Dom-Museum is open Monday to Friday from 10.00 am till 4.45 pm, Saturdays from 10.00am till 1.30pm, and Sundays from 2.00pm till 4.45pm


Among the valuable exhibits on view in the display cabinets is an original lock of Ludwig van Beethoven’s hair, on loan from Bonn.

Mann with cardbord box in front of a glass case
Christian Kämpf, a doctoral candidate at the University of Bremen, created the exhibition in the cathedral museum together with students of musicology and history.
Lock of hair on white paper
Among the valuable exhibits on view in the display cabinets is an original lock of Ludwig van Beethoven’s hair, on loan from Bonn.