Temporary Exhibitions

On these pages we present details of our current and past temporary exhibitions. Unless otherwise specified, visiting the current exhibitions is free and forms part of the main museum tour. Please contact us if you would like more information about any of the topics.

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Explore our past and present temporary exhibitions

Frame Us (Little Brother) - (Current Exhibition)

Drawings of spectacles by the famous become 'frame us'

Rebuilding Lives (Current Exhibition)

The Work of the St Dunstan’s charity and its successor, Blind Veterans UK

Pathos Ocularis - The Beautiful and the Curious

This exhibition ran from September 2019 until March 2020. Iluá Hauck da Silva, an artist and glassmaker specialising in works of anatomical and pathological symbolism, was the museum's third ever ‘artist-in-residence’. The College invited her to produce works inspired by her own experience of dry eye, diplopia and photophobia.

We Called to See You - Visual Aspects of Victorian and Edwardian Cartes-de-visite Portrait Photographs

This exhibition ran from 17 September 2017 to 16 September 2019. It was a collaboration between the museum and a major private collection.


This exhibition ran from 20 September 2015 until 6 September 2017. It offered a decidedly one-eyed look at history...

Mr Barker's Dream

This exhibition ran from 3 February 2014 until 28 August 2015. It covered the history of optometry education in Manchester...

Look for the Letters

This exhibition ran from the end of August 2012 until 24 January 2014. It covered 150 years of the Snellen chart...

Patrice Moor 'Artist in Residence'

This exhibition ran from 9 July until 21 December 2012. It featured two paintings and one multi-part work inspired by the museum collections...

Celebrity Spex Scandal

This exhibition ran from 14 September 2011 until 19 December 2013. It showed why famous people's glasses aren't all they're cracked up to be...

Who is Blind?

This exhibition ran from 13 November 2009 until 13 July 2012. It was a small but intentionally thought-provoking display mounted to coincide with the launch of the book 'Low Vision the Essential Guide for Optometrists' which was financed by the College and which was distributed free to all College members.

A Feast for the Eyes

This exhibition ran from 27 April 2009 until 07 September 2011. It offered a tasteful display aligning with the College PR campaign on eye nutrition...

The MicroMuseum of Optography

This exhibition ran from 21st September 2008 until 31st March 2009. Derek Ogbourne's small-scale project was our museum's first ever collaboration with a contemporary artist.

From Painted Jezebels to Synthetic Beauty: The Story of Eye Make-Up

This exhibition ran from 30 June 2008 until 9 April 2009. It showed how cosmetic products for the eyes can alter the colour of the surrounding flesh or lashes and create an illusion of shape or form...