Museum of Vision

Dedicated to preserving ophthalmic history

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History of The Museum of Vision

In 1979 the President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Frederick C. Blodi, MD, asked that an Ad Hoc Committee be created to consider the establishment of a museum for ophthalmic history. In September of that year the Executive Vice President and CEO of the Academy, Dr. Bruce Spivey, noted that the Academy’s Board of Directors had authorized the “establishment of a Foundation as a separate legal corporation, which will have as one of its purposes the establishment of a museum.”

On November 2, 1980, the Museum Committee held its first official meeting. The Committee determined to present its first exhibit two years later at the 1982 Joint Meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the International Council of Ophthalmology. That first exhibit was entitled “Ophthalmology’s Past: The Path to the Future”. It contained examples from the nascent collection and was, by all accounts, a success. Since this time, the museum has opened an exhibit at every annual meeting of the Academy.

The Museum of Vision originally collected only literature, instruments, photographs, spectacles and the Academy’s archival material. As interest in the museum grew, so did the scope of its collections. Today the museum houses 38,000 items related to ophthalmic history. The artifact collection includes art, furniture, instruments, stamps, coins, medals, memorabilia, literature, pharmaceuticals and vision aids.  The Academy Archives includes corporate and personal papers, publications, historical essays, interviews, oral histories, photographs and film.

In 2000 the museum was officially named the “Museum of Vision” and in 2004 Dr. Stanley M. Truhlsen established the first-ever endowed position in the Academy Foundation’s history, the “Stanley M. Truhlsen, MD, Director of Ophthalmic Heritage.”


Stanley M. Truhlsen, MD

Stanley Truhlsen
Stanley M. Truhlsen, MD

In 2004, Dr. Stanley M. Truhlsen established an endowment to fund the Stanley M. Truhlsen, MD Director of Ophthalmic Heritage within the Museum of Vision.

Through his generosity, Dr. Truhlsen has made a lasting investment in the profession by advancing the museum's efforts to preserve our ophthalmic heritage and translate it into an educational resource for use by Academy members, medical historians, researchers and the public as they seek to understand ophthalmology's contributions to society and address similar challenges today and in the future.

Dr. Truhlsen has been a lifelong supporter of the profession, the Academy, Museum of Vision and The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  In addition to serving as the current chair of the museum's Academy Archives Committee, Dr. Truhlsen is a Past President of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and the Academy Foundation.

We are proud to honor Dr. Truhlsen's commitment to his profession and share his passion for the preservation of ophthalmic heritage.


American Academy of Ophthalmology