The Lamar Soutter Library and the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at UMass Chan Medical School partnered with the Hartford Medical Society Library at Lyman Maynard Stowe Library, UConn Health, to organize an exhibit of historical ophthalmology items at the medical school. The exhibit, “Eyes to the Past,” ran from the summer through the fall, 2019, and included textbooks from the 1800s, prints to test for color blindness, artifacts such as eye surgery kits, glass eyeballs, stereoscopes, and an early 20th century ophthalmoscope. A medical student with an interest in ophthalmology was recruited to research each item on display and provide text for identification cards. The culmination of this successful collaborative effort was a presentation and reception, co-hosted by the Library and the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, on October 29, 2019.

The Eyes to the Past Exhibit collection showcases photographs of the artifacts and of the reception. This collection also includes the presentations delivered at the reception that highlighted the items on display, the ties between the historical instruments and what’s used in modern practice, new discoveries in ocular gene therapy taking place at UMass Chan, and the current era of research and patient care in ophthalmology.

The Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and the Lamar Soutter Library thank and acknowledge the Hartford Medical Historical Library at UConn Health for the loan of this fascinating collection.

News stories and presentations about the exhibit:

  • An article with photos of the reception was posted by the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences on October 31, 2019.
  • A poster describing the exhibit and partnership was presented by Lamar Soutter Library librarians at the North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries, Inc. (NAHSL) Annual Meeting in November 2019.


Contact escholarship@umassmed.edu with your questions.

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