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  • Now Open 


    We are thrilled to announce the new 2024–2025 special exhibition, Hoodwinked: 19th Century Quack Medicine. Journey into the unregulated days before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and discover some of the wildest practitioners of unproven, or “quack,” medicine in the 1800s.

    Hoodwinked features bogus sight restorers, untested electrical cures, and mysterious eye tonics and salves. This special exhibition opened on Friday, May 24, and will be on display through spring 2025. Continue to check this page for more updates on the exhibit and associated craft programs. 

    Image: Pettit's Eye Salve trade card, c1885-1900

    Past Exhibitions

    A photograph of a silver metal placard with the image of a pair of eyes on it splits the image with a teal block with gray text in it. The text reads: Decoding the Eye: Signs & Symbols On View Through Spring 2024. There is a small circle logo in the upper right hand corner that reads: Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye.

    Vision makes our lives richer, filling us with emotions ranging from wonder and joy to fear and anger. The symbol of the eye derives meaning from our shared understanding of these feelings. Often, they suggest a higher power – one that sees all, knows all, and wishes us good or evil. 

    This exhibit includes ancient and modern objects from around the world, showcasing how the eye has persisted as a symbol through time. The specific uses of these objects are particular to each culture but there are recurring themes of enlightenment, healing, and protection. Featured topics include the ancient Egyptian Eye of Horus, pendants protecting against the evil eye, patron saints of eyes in the Catholic canon, and more.

    “Decoding the Eye: Signs & Symbols” will be on display in the museum from May 10, 2023 through May 19, 2024, and will be paired with programs and gallery crafts throughout the year. 

    Image: Tin ex-voto, 19th century

    On the left side of this image is a light brown colored, wood cut drawing of a man in a 15th century style hat and robes holding two lenses with a hinge in the center. The other side of the image is white text on a green background that reads TRUHLSEN-MARMOR MUSEUM OF THE EYE SPECTACULAR SPECTACLES ON VIEW THROUGH SPRING 2023.
    Summer 2021 - Spring 2023

    The Truhlsen-Marmor Museum of the Eye® is home to nearly 4,000 aids to vision including eyeglasses, sunglasses, goggles, monoculars, binoculars, and telescopes. We are featuring this collection in our special exhibit, “Spectacular Spectacles,” which explores how eyeglasses work and the unique designs of eyeglasses since their invention in the 13th century.

    For thousands of people, spectacles bring the world into focus, but their invention over 700 years ago is obscure- historians still debate who invented them and where. Moreover, few people understand how eyeglasses work and would be surprised by the many variations on their use that were developed. As this special exhibition shows, spectacles are spectacular examples of their times and cultures. By exploring the many types of vision aids that have existed, we can observe an evolution of both technology and craftsmanship.

    Image: Wood Engraving of a Man Holding Spectacles, The Nuremberg Chronicle, c1493