The idea of making Frankfurt (Oder) the focus of Kleist research arose in 1919 in connection with the acquisition of a Kleist library from an estate. In 1922/23, at the suggestion of the Kleist Society, founded on March 4, 1920 in Berlin with its seat in Frankfurt (Oder), the first museum was set up in the house where the poet was born. In 1937 the Kleist exhibition was integrated into the Oderland Museum in the Lienau House. Both Kleist's birthplace and the Lienau house burned down in April 1945.
After the war ended, a new collection was gradually built up in the city library. After the reconstruction of the former garrison school, the collection could then be relocated there, and so on September 20, 1969 the “Kleist Memorial and Research Center” was officially opened. On October 21, 1995 the "Kleist Memorial and Research Center eV" was founded, which has been the sponsor of the Kleist Museum ever since. On November 14, 2018, the Brandenburg State Parliament established the public law foundation “Kleist Museum” by law, which replaced the previous sponsoring association on January 1, 2019, which has been dissolved. From 2019 the Förderkreis Kleist-Museum, Frankfurt (Oder) e. V.
In addition to maintaining the intellectual and literary legacy of Heinrich von Kleist, the museum is also dedicated to the literary legacy of Ewald Christian and Franz Alexander von Kleist as well as Caroline and Friedrich de la Motte Fouqués . Readings, lectures and literary-musical events take place regularly according to the respective exhibition, as well as the summer festival in June and the Kleist festival in October.
The collections are divided into several areas:
The art collections include evidence of visual artists' engagement with the life and work of the author. The Theatralia contain materials for the staging of the works, while the Musealia collect items related to Kleist. Media objects complete the collection.
The library of the museum is a special and research library on Heinrich von Kleist and his time. It contains around 10,000 volumes and is open to the public as a reference library.
The old museum is located in the former garrison school, which is now a listed building. The new building, which cost 5.4 million euros, was opened on October 17, 2013. It is directly connected to the old museum by means of a glass and steel construction. From 2007 to 2016 the writer Wolfgang de Bruyn was director of the museum. Historian Hannah Lotte Lund has been running the house since then. The museum's permanent exhibition, which has been presented since 2013, is entitled “Riddles, Fights, Breaks”.
- Wolfgang Barthel: The Kleist Museum in Frankfurt (Oder) 1953-2003 . Frankfurt (Oder), Kleist Museum 2003. ISBN 3-9808900-1-5
- Brandenburg State Monument List: City of Frankfurt (Oder) (PDF) Brandenburg State Office for Monument Preservation and State Archaeological Museum
- Kleist's new house is open, accessed on October 18, 2013
- It depends on the sentence structure in Süddeutsche Zeitung of October 18, 2013, page 14