Dorner Telescope Museum

Rudolph Dorner (1948-2022)

In March of 2022, Rudolph Dorner, the founder of the Dorner Telescope Museum (DTM), passed away. It was Rudolph’s generosity of spirit, generosity of conception, and generosity of pocket which is bringing forth the museum. He had a long-standing fascination with the optical devices which reveal something of the universe to us, and that interest was far from an armchair one. He also had great respect for the combination of ingenious minds, discriminating eyes, and skilled hands which crafted those instruments.

A strong believer in the power of narrative, he was concerned that much of the story of the telescope in Canada was in danger of not being told, particularly the stories of many resourceful amateur telescope makers. The solution he envisioned was an institution devoted solely to telling that story, and preserving the materials for doing so. His vision of a Canadian telescope museum is one which enables visitors to experience the real physicality of the artifacts, which means as much as possible dissolving the display cases separating viewers from the objects, and permitting them where possible to observe through the instruments. Working out how to do that is one of the challenges in realizing his legacy, but it’s a challenge very much worth meeting.

Rudolph honoured the RASC by choosing us as the organization to realize his vision.

His loss is keenly felt by those who enjoyed his companionable presence when observing, by the innovative telescope makers who enjoyed his active patronage—enabling them to take on new challenges, and by the many observers who benefited from his generosity. The museum he created will allow something of his characteristic approach to astronomy to live on.



Dorner Telescope Museum


telling the story of the telescope in Canada


Telescopes and binoculars are magic, bringing distant astronomical objects close or showing things invisible to the naked eye. That magic has never worn off.
—Rudolph Dorner

logoImage © Dorner Telescope Museum



The Dorner Telescope Museum’s purpose is to tell the story of the telescope in Canada, through telling the stories of Canadian telescope makers, users, and their instruments.  

Many fine instruments have been produced here, and innovations developed, yet the makers are frequently less well-known than they deserve to be. The museum aims to change that.

To reach that end, the museum is engaged in

  • artifact identification, acquisition, preservation & conservation
  • research into the production and use of astronomical telescopes in Canada
  • gallery design
  • and crafting an approach to education and outreach emphasising real engagement with the instruments, and the styles of observation for which they were produced


lensDTM 6.2019724 6-inch Jaegers O.G.


Contours of the Collection

  • The temporal range will run from the 17th century to the present
  • Widely disseminated and popular types of instrument will be included, as well as rare and unusual instruments

  • The collection will embrace equipment by Canadian makers of international, national, and local reputation, as well as those by quietly competent makers

  • The work of amateurs and professionals will be featured

  • Commercial telescopes or accessories made in Canada,  or made elsewhere but incorporating Canadian innovations will be accessioned

  • Telescopes and equipment with which Canadians have made significant discoveries, or contributed scientific data, or pushed the boundaries of observation or astrophotography will be sought, as well as instruments associated with culturally significant Canadians

  • For purposes of the museum, “Canadian” will be defined generously, and flexibly

  • Binoculars, astronomical eyepieces, astronomical cameras, spectrographs and spectrometers, photometers, and like equipment of Canadian design, manufacture, or inspiration will be included

  • The tools used by Canadian telescopes makers will be added

  • Publications and other media on astronomical optics with Canadian connections will be collected to support the museum’s work, and the museum will undertake its own documentation of Canadian telescope makers and their work



Stellafane 1948

RASC member Frank De Kinder
at Stellafane 1948

Pitch LapRASC member Hassard's
drawing of a pitch lap


Collins scope
RASC member Collins' monoplane achromatic telescope ca. 1900

Videos of the announcement of the museum, and the generous support making it possible, and presenting plans for its goals and development are available here or at the bottom of this page.


You can help the mission of the Dorner Telescope Museum by

  • Contacting us if you have a telescope or other relevant artifacts you believe might have a place in the collection, or if you know of someone else who might have artifacts of potential interest

  • Contacting us if you have information on, documents about, or recollections of past Canadian telescope makers

  • Reaching out to us If you wish to receive updates on the museum’s work, or wish to volunteer

Portrait of honorary RASC member Dr. John Brashear; reproduced courtesy of the SPECVLA ASTRONOMICA MINIMA



We can be reached at:

  • r.rosenfeld <at>



  - unlocking the potential of glass with a story

Museum Director, and the Society's
4-inch O.G. Cooke refractor


RASC 2019 GA The Dorner Telescope Museum