Rare documents from history’s greats will go on show in Handwritten: Ten Centuries of Manuscript Treasures from Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin  -  a blockbuster exhibition to open the National Library of Australia’s new Exhibition Gallery on 26 November.

Handwritten, curated as a partnership between the National Library of Australia and Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, will feature 100 unique manuscript treasures from Germany’s largest library, which celebrates its 350th anniversary this year.

 The exhibition, a who’s who of history’s greatest thinkers, spans more than 1000 years and includes a rare handwritten document by Michelangelo, one of only two surviving  Passions by Bach, Einstein’s 1915anti-militaristic article, My Opinion on the War and Mozart’s original Marriage of Figaro manuscript - to name just a few.

 Director-General of the National Library of Australia, Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, said the exhibition had been made possible through the generosity of Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and exhibition sponsors.

 ‘This exhibition presents Australians everywhere with a once-in-a lifetime opportunity to see these documents in the original hands of these greats of history – without cost,’ she said.  ‘It is the perfect choice to open our new Exhibition Gallery.’

 Director-General of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Ms Barbara Schneider-Kempf, said: ‘We greatly appreciate this opportunity to share with you these extraordinary pieces of world heritage. I hope that thousands of visitors will be inspired by this fine collection.’

The National Library in Canberra will be the exclusive Australian venue for Handwritten.

 The Handwritten: Ten Centuries of Manuscript Treasures from Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin exhibition was supported by the Australian Government International Exhibitions Insurance (AGIEI) program, an Australian Government program which provides funding for the purchase of insurance for significant cultural exhibitions. Without AGIEI, the high cost of insuring significant cultural items would prohibit this major exhibition from touring to Australia.

 For more information and high-res images from Handwritten, go to http://www.nla.gov.au/media/handwritten/

 Media Contact:

Sally Hopman, Media Liaison Manager, National Library of Australia

02 6262 1704 or 0401 226 697 shopman@nla.gov.au