The ZEISS Museum of Optics is open to the public. It’s a beautiful, new, architecturally crisp, white and bright addition to corporate headquarters in Oberkochen, Germany. 288 km from Frankfurt airport (3 hours’ drive) or 184 km from Munich (2 hours), driving time (in parentheses) is a wishful google estimate. Actual time and mileage, like mine, depends on road construction (everywhere), total shutdowns of Autobahn due to auto pile-ups (frequent), and GPS taking charge to re-route rental car in crazy directions. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth the trip.
The exhibit begins with a massive collection of spectacles and artwork. There’s a chronology of lenses: from first observations of the optical effects of rain drops to rounded crystals to famous telescopes. Napoleon’s famous monocular and Admiral Togo’s dual-power binoculars are on display. So is the Hasselbad with ZEISS lenses that Buzz Aldrin used on the moon. Display of ARRI cameras and ARRI/ZEISS cinema lenses. And one of the world’s smallest planetariums, as well as giant mechanical-optical planetarium projectors.