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American Academy of Ophthalmology announces plans for ‘world-first’ Museum of Vision

A £3 million donation has paved the way for the development of an institute to showcase the history of medical and surgical eye care

05 Nov 2018 by Selina Powell

The American Academy of Ophthalmology has announced a project to construct a new museum dedicated to vision in San Francisco.

The Academy has described the institute as the ‘world’s first public museum dedicated to vision and eye health.’

Ophthalmologist, Stanley Truhlsen, launched the initiative with a $4 million (£3m) donation.

“For thousands of years, ophthalmology has pushed the envelope, discovering breakthrough innovations to protect sight,” he highlighted.

“The museum is a vehicle by which our heritage remains both relevant and inspiring; promoting continued discovery and advancement,” Dr Truhlsen added.

The museum, which has a planned opening date of 2020, will house more than 38,000 artifacts, books and instruments collected by the American Academy of Ophthalmology over three decades.

The Academy has a third of the $12 million (£9.2m) it aims to raise as a permanent endowment to operate the museum and ensure free public access. 

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    Spectrum

    It is great news that the AAO is to invest in its museum at long last, after years of comparative neglect, however its claim to be a world first cannot be justified. The British Optical Association Museum at the College of Optometrists was founded in 1901 and first opened to the public around 1915, with proper planned displays in place by 1926. Since its foundation it has always maintained a contemporary element and a wider mission to educate on vision and eye health. With their fantastic collections and expert curator it is only to be guessed what they could achieve if some similarly generous British benefactor gave them £3m.

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