The idea of staging Documenta ophtalmologica... stories from an ophthalmological surgery has been growing for almost ten years. It all began with the question of enriching the collection of objects of the Typhlological Museum. Until then the Museum had held mostly items related to the education, rehabilitation and everyday life of the visually impaired. While thinking about the collection policy, a virgin territory related to visual impairment came to mind, namely the issue of diagnostics and treatment.
Field investigation led us to the University Hospital Centre Zagreb, which at that time held some diagnostic devices, instruments and aids in its storage, and the equipment hadn't been used due to various reasons. A few months later we were called in to discuss the care for a very valuable collection of ophthalmological devices, which was kept in the hospital basement storage thanks to Prof. Vjekoslav Dorn and Prof. Vladimir Dugački, and in which an adaptation process had already begun, which would last for years. The enthusiasm and care for the preservation of the collection that professors Dorn and Dugački invested were immense. In order to preserve the collection from dilapidation in inadequate storage space, we arranged for it to be temporarily placed in the storage of the Typhlological Museum. The items were kept in the Museum for years, but they had to be fully conserved and renovated, which could not be done by the Museum since the items were not a part of our collection at the time.
Therefore, we started to negotiate with the University Hospital Centre Zagreb on donating the collection to the Museum, in which Professor Dorn, then already retired, also played a great role. Upon the request of the Typhlological Museum, the head of the Department of Ophthalmology of the University Hospital Centre Zagreb signed the permission to donate the items in 2006.
That same year the Museum founded the new, Ophthalmological collection, and started to inventory, catalogue and process the items with the great expert input of Professor Dorn, who had used most of the donated items during his long-time practice. At the same time we began to restore the items, which are finally ready to make a public appearance after a long time.
Finally, we did a good deed by preserving the old collection of ophthalmological items for future generations, and we managed to put our idea of presenting a surgery from the beginning of the 20th century into practice. When we think of the items exhibited, we staged an exhibition which would be the envy of many museums in Europe and around the world.
Željka Bosnar Salihagić
... stories from an ophthalmological surgery
Diagnostic devices and aids, which were used in everyday diagnostics, prevention and treatment of eye diseases in the Royal University Ophthalmology Clinic gave way to new technological advancements and form the basis of this exhibition, while they also witness the time and the spirit this exhibition wanted to convey. These items are the initiators of the story about an isolated moment of preserved history.
The Documenta ophtalmologica… stories from an ophthalmological surgery exhibition is divided into two parts, and brings us back about a hundred years, to the beginning of the 20th century, to an old ophthalmology surgery and contrasting multimedia displays of modern-day ophthalmology. The multimedia contents and printed materials with basic information about eye diseases offer informative guidelines on how to recognize, prevent and cure diseases. The purpose of this exhibition is to inform and educate children, young people and parents, and bring awareness to the community about the problems and prevention of eye diseases, and develop a sense of responsibility. This will invariably lead to the improvement of the quality of life of an individual and the community as a whole. If we have adequate knowledge, we will be able to recognize risk factors of certain diseases or refractive errors of the eye and maximally prevent the adverse effect.