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  • 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.
    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