NLM logo

Museum of Vision

Archive; Library; Museum
American Academy of Ophthalmology 655 Beach Street
San Francisco, California 94109
United States
Jenny E. Benjamin, Director
1 415-561-8502
Fax: 1-415-561-8567

Founded in 1980, the Museum of Vision strives to preserve ophthalmic heritage and to inspire appreciation of vision science, ophthalmology and contributions made toward preventing blindness worldwide. This is accomplished through a collection which includes artifacts, books, and archives. 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, a position currently held by Jenny Benjamin. SERVICES: image rights and reproduction, historical research, object identification (not appraisal), elementary school curriculum (available on-line only). EXHIBITS: Museum of Vision is open by appointment, Monday through Friday 10 am – 5 pm, no admission fee. WEBSITE: includes a searchable collections database, exhibits, and access to biographies, oral histories, and educational resources.


The museum’s holdings can be divided into museum, library, and archive. MUSEUM: holds over 10,500 artifacts including ancient and modern examples of alternative medicine, art, furniture, instruments, memorabilia, numismatics, philately, pharmaceuticals, and vision aids. Holdings include The Harriet and J. William Rosenthal, MD Collection. LIBRARY: holds over 2,000 books with over 200 rare volumes including the Spencer E. Sherman, MD Antique Ophthalmology Book Collection, the M. Wallace Friedman, MD Rare Book Collection. ARCHIVE: holds over 35 collections of corporate records, personal papers, photographs, oral histories, and film. Corporate records include the American Academy of Ophthalmology and its predecessor, the American Academy of Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology, The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and the American Optical Company. Special note should be made of the personal records in the archive of Drs. Rudolf Bock, Charles H. May, George K. Kambara, Carl Koller, Irving Leopold, Robert Machemer, Marshall M. Parks and Bruce Spivey.

Subject Strengths:
History of Anatomy; History of Anesthesiology and Anesthesia; History of Hospitals; History of Medical Education; History of Medicine; History of Military/Naval Medicine; History of Ophthalmology and Optometry; History of Otorhinolaryngology; History of Pediatrics; History of Quackery and Health Fraud; History of Surgery; History of the Practice of Medicine
Last Updated:
31 Mar 2020