Amsterdam's National Museum of Spectacles

Joshua Foer is a guest blogger on Boing Boing. Joshua is a freelance science journalist and the co-founder of the Atlas Obscura: A Compendium of the World's Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica, with Dylan Thuras.


As a lifelong glasses wearer, I'm intrigued by this image from the National Museum of Spectacles in Amsterdam, posted to the Atlas Obscura by CPilgrim:

The National Museum of Spectacles is itself something of a spectacle, fittingly located above an old optician's office in a building that dates back to the mid-1600s. The house's two floors overflow with monocles, lorgnettes, and the once-beloved Roosevelt style pince-nez. Exhibits detail the 700-year history of eye wear and the role that spectacles have played in art and fashion. Included among the museum's extensive holdings are the glasses of such bespectacled luminaries as Buddy Holly, John Lennon, Elvis Costello, and Franz Schubert.

The family that runs the museum has a store selling antique frames on the ground floor. Having watched my current plastic-rimmed specs oxidize to an unpleasant, mottled gray, I've been thinking about going back to metal frames, or trying out an altogether different material. I just did a little googling and discovered a company called Urban Spectacles that handcrafts modern frames out of wood (even, it appears, a pair of scissors glasses like the ones above). I'm looking over their web site, appreciating the incredible craftsmanship, when, lo and behold, I discover a celebrity endorsement from none other than… Cory Doctorow.