MedUni Vienna: “de oculis” Exhibition at the Josephinum – On the Eye and Seeing

From 11 March, the Aichmair Collection will be on display at the Josephinum – Collections of the Medical University of Vienna. The exhibition, entitled “de oculis”, will feature the Josephinum’s own historically-important collections as well as exhibiting for the first time items from the extensive collection put together by the ophthalmologist Hermann Aichmair and donated to the Josephinum.

Hermann Aichmair, ophthalmologist and former professor at the University Eye Clinic II, has been a life-long collector: instruments, votive offerings, objects from close at hand and far afield alike. Everyday artefacts, scientific instruments, and folkloric items – anything connected to the eye and sight. He donated this collection, consisting of over 600 ophthalmological items, to the Josephinum.

“Vienna has a great ophthalmologic tradition: the world’s first university eye clinic was founded at the city’s General Hospital in 1812,” says the Josephinum’s director, Christiane Druml. “This generous gift from Professor Aichmair wonderfully complements our own collection of unique ophthalmological objects, instruments and moulages. We are thrilled to be able to present these to the public, along with the highlights of the Aichmair Collection, in the months ahead.”

Many important diagnostic and therapeutic procedures have emerged in Vienna over the last 200 years. The exhibition reveals that a large number of the developments made by early ophthalmologists set the standard for eye care for many years. The Medical University of Vienna has played a leading role in these innovations, such as non-invasive diagnosis of eye diseases. The exhibition is intended to introduce these historic objects to an interested public alongside excellent examples of modern, high-tech ophthalmological medicine.

Interventions by Contemporary Artists
The exhibition will also feature interventions by contemporary artists Nadja Bournonville, Kerstin von Gabain, Zenita Komad, Eva Kot’átková, Anja Manfredi and Nadim Vardag. Their work engages with a wide range of perspectives on the eye and sight in its broadest sense.

Press Tour on 9 March
There will be a guided tour of the exhibition for media representatives on 9 March 2016 at 10 a.m. Please register by 8 March by emailing sammlungen(at)

Exhibition Information
“de oculis” – The Aichmair Collection at the Josephinum. Curatted by Simon Weber-Unger and Moritz Stipsicz. Josephinum – Sammlungen der MedUni Wien, Währinger Straße 25, 1090 Vienna, 11 March 2016 to 8 October 2016, Opening times: Wednesdays (4 p.m. – 8 p.m.); Friday and Saturday (10 a.m. – 6 p.m.).

Open Week at the Josephinum
From 15 to 20 March 2016 there will be an open week at the Josephinum with reduced ticket prices. Opening times: Tue – Sat, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., daily tours at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Please register by emailing sammlungen(at)

The Josephinum – Summary profile
The Josephinum was founded in 1785 by Emperor Joseph II as a medical and surgical military academy and is the most significant example of Classical architecture in Vienna and an important legacy of the Enlightenment in Austria. It is the historic gateway to the Medical University of Vienna und houses the collections around the history of medicine, including the unique anatomical wax models, commissioned in Florence, impressive instruments, books, archive materials, manuscripts and legacies. It remains an important venue for discussion, teaching and research in the fields of history and ethics in medicine.

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