The Foundation has been tasked with expanding the existing Optical Museum and turning it into the German Optical Museum, thereby also making Jena a “city of light” and reinforcing its role as a center for optical technologies.

The Museum will pick up on Jena’s optical history at its previous location as a historical site in the city center and maintain existing inventories, as well as mobilize and present scientific content.


As part of its educational mission, it is designed to promote knowledge of optics and put across the joys of physics and the natural sciences. As a research-oriented museum, the German Optical Museum thrives on its connection to science and research, and in particular to the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, and serves as a platform for international scientific discussions.

The new museum’s sponsors want it to be a place that preserves cultural history, provides a contemporary education and conducts pioneering research, thereby setting trends for optics and their industry.



Founding director:

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Timo Mappes,


Professor for the History of Physics with a focus on scientific communication at the Friedrich Schiller University Jena



The Board of Trustees ensures that the Foundation’s aims and statutes are complied with and supervises the museum director. The Board of Trustees comprises at least one of the representatives of the 5 initiators:


... is a foundation named after German scientist Ernst Abbe and was established in 1992 from parts of the Carl Zeiss Foundation. It is committed to the promotion of science, particularly in Abbe’s hometown in Thuringia, eastern Germany. The Foundation runs establishments such as the Optical Museum and the Zeiss Planetarium in Jena.
Moreover, the Foundation owns housing companies and manages buildings used for biotechnical reasons on Jena’s Beutenberg campus, where the Ernst Abbe Center was opened on 23 January 2006.

Chairman of the Board Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Deufel
Chairman of the Board Prof. Dr. med. Thomas Deufel


... is a German university town and an administrative district in Thuringia, in the Central Germany metropolitan region. One of three regional centers, it is located on the Saale river and is the second-largest city in the state after the capital Erfurt. In 2008, the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (a joint initiative of German industries to promote science and higher education) bestowed the title of City of Science on Jena. The city of Jena also goes by the name of “Jena. City of light.” In 2016 Jena was given the honorary title of “European City of the Reformation” by the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe.

Head of the JenaKultur independent enterprise Jonas Zipf
Head of the JenaKultur independent enterprise Jonas Zipf


... (Latin: Alma Mater Jenensis, also known as Salana, Salina) is the largest and the only comprehensive university in the German state of Thuringia with its 18,219 students, 360 professorships, 7,032 employees and over 200 study options, including the so-called “small subjects” like Caucasian Studies, Romanian Studies and Indo-European Studies. It is one of the most traditional and oldest universities in Germany and a member of the Coimbra Group. As part of the Excellence Initiative, in 2007 the university became a recipient of the Graduate School promotional initiative. In honor of the university’s 450th anniversary, it received the title of City of Science 2008.

President Prof. Dr. Walter Rosenthal
President Prof. Dr. Walter Rosenthal


… is headquartered in Heidenheim an der Brenz and Jena and is the sole owner of Carl Zeiss AG and SCHOTT AG. It was established in 1889 by physicist and mathematician Ernst Abbe and it promotes science and research in the natural and engineering sciences at universities in the German federal states of Baden-Württemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Thuringia. In 2015 the Foundation was named Germany’s Scientific Foundation of the Year.

Member of the Board of the Foundation Administration and Chancellor of the TU Ilmenau, Dennys Klein
Member of the Board of the Foundation Administration and Chancellor of the TU Ilmenau, Dennys Klein


... is an internationally leading technology enterprise in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. The ZEISS Group develops, produces and distributes measuring technology, microscopes, medical technology, eyeglass lenses, camera and cinema lenses, binoculars and semiconductor manufacturing equipment. With its solutions, the company constantly advances the world of optics and helps shape technological progress. ZEISS is divided up into the four segments Research & Quality Technology, Medical Technology, Vision Care/Consumer Products and Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology. The ZEISS Group is represented in more than 40 countries and has over 50 sales and service locations, more than 30 manufacturing sites and about 25 research and development centers around the globe.

In fiscal year 2015/16 the company generated revenue approximating €4.9 billion with over 25,000 employees. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. Carl Zeiss AG is the strategic management holding company that manages the ZEISS Group. The company is wholly owned by the Carl Zeiss Stiftung (Carl Zeiss Foundation).


ZEISS in Jena

At the Jena site all four segments are represented by the Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Medical Technology and Microscopy business groups, the Planetariums strategic business unit and the Central Research area of ZEISS. Jena is also the headquarters of the central  
service company for the production operations of the ZEISS Group. ZEISS employs around 2,000 people at its Jena site.

President and CEO Prof. Dr. Michael Kaschke
President and CEO Prof. Dr. Michael Kaschke


The scientific advisory committee (5...8 members) has no influence on the Foundation’s management and administration. If you have any questions about the museum’s scientific concept, scientific collaboration with other persons or entities, or the collaboration with educational facilities, please contact the scientific advisory committee for the museum director and the Board of Trustees.
Through its advisory and supporting role, the scientific advisory committee ensures high-quality scientific work, however its members have yet to be appointed.


  1. City of Jena
    Represented by its mayor Dr. Albrecht Schröter
  2. Ernst Abbe Foundation
    Represented by its President Dr. Thomas Deufel
  3. Carl Zeiss Foundation
    Represented by its Chairwoman of the Foundation Administration, Minister for Science, Research and Art (BW) Theresia Bauer
  4. Carl Zeiss AG
    Represented by its President and CEO Dr. Michael Kaschke
  5. Friedrich Schiller University in Jena
    Represented by its President Dr. Walter Rosenthal

Chairman of the foundation from its founding to the appointment of the founding director:

Dr. Franz Ferdinand von Falkenhausen, honorary citizen of the city of Jena and former CEO of Carl Zeiss Jena GmbH


Foundation statute of the German Optical Museum
In its version dated 13 April 2017
2017-04-13-Satzung der Stiftung DOM.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Dokument 60.4 KB