Our exhibits are spread out over 1,200 m2 on three different floors and focus on different topics:
In order to stay competitive, Carl Zeiss began to manufacture compound microscopes. He resisted the trial-and-error approach common at the time and understood the necessity of uniting theory and practice. Working closely with Ernst Abbe, Zeiss ultimately achieved his goal by investing heavily in scientifically calculated microscopes. You can explore the beginnings and evolution of this unique company in our exhibit.
In 1866, Ernst Abbe joined the Zeiss Workshop as a scientist and began looking for ways to improve microscopic imaging. This partnership with Abbe was a decisive first step on the path to transforming the Zeiss Workshop into a world-renowned company. In addition to highlighting Abbe's work as a scientist, entrepreneur and university lecturer, our exhibit also focuses on his socio-political commitment.
The advances in microscope manufacturinge required high-quality optical glass. In 1884, Otto Schott founded the Glastechnische Laboratorium Schott & Genossen in Jena, where he produced new types of optical glass. These enabled the manufacturinge of high-quality optical instruments. Here we present Schott's collaboration with Zeiss and Abbe and the history of the glass factory.
Eyeglasses have become so commonplace we hardly notice them. Our exhibit features selected objects from one of the largest eyeglass collections in Europe. Visitors can discover not only the wide variety of shapes and materials used for eyeglasses as these evolved over eight centuries, but also the unusual ways people employed this major discovery from the Middle Ages. A look at the history of visual aids also reflects the importance of eyeglasses and their wearers in society at any given time.
For a long time, it fell to portrait painters to preserve and reproduce lifelike images. Yet the race was on to develop an independent medium for imaging reality – writing with light. Our exhibit shows what hurdles had to be overcome over the past decades. Innovative photographic techniques, cameras and lenses demonstrate the rapid development of a technology that has since become part and parcel of our daily liveswe now simply take for granted.
The first telescopes were likely produced by Dutch optics experts in the 17th century. Our impressive exhibit shows you just how master craftsmen, engineers and scientists took a simple discovery and transformed it into a high-quality instrument.