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British Optical Association Museum

Welcome to the MusEYEum, the museum of the optical and eyecare professions.


Founded by Mr J. H. Sutcliffe of the British Optical Association in 1901, this is a remarkable museum collection comprising over twenty thousand outstanding objects and archival items relating to the history of ophthalmic optics (optometry), the human eye and visual aids, as well as the representation of these subjects in art. Many of the objects in the museum are rare or unique. They're certainly eye-catching! When the BOA voluntarily disbanded in 1980 the Museum was entrusted to the care of the new College of Optometrists. Now in its second century, it continues to be recognised as the oldest and one of the best optical museum collections in the world.

The Public is welcome to visit the museum (by prior appointment), book a tour of the College meeting rooms, carry out relevant research using our rich archival resources,or write in with questions on which we can help. At our Central London headquarters we present both permanent and temporary exhibitions to visitors. These MusEYEum web pages serve as a record of some of our past exhibitions and, through virtual displays, allow us to share this rich optical heritage with an even wider international audience.

We invite you to take a look as you may be surprised by what you will see.

Please take time to explore this MusEYEum section of the College website,choosing from the section links in the menu column to the left. Together these comprise one of the most extensive sets of specialist subject museum pages in the United Kingdom.

The MusEYEum is the web presence of the British Optical Association Museum, a department of the College of Optometrists, which is permanently and professionally staffed. We welcome any enquiries of an historical nature.

You may contact the museum directly: Curator: Neil Handley MA, AMA+, FRSA, British Optical Association Museum, The College of Optometrists, 42 Craven Street, London, WC2N 5NG United Kingdom. Telephone: +44 (0)20 7766 4353+44 (0)20 7766 4353. Fax: +44 (0)20 7839 6800. E-Mail   

For information on visiting the College of Optometrists to view the BOA Museum in person, either singly or in a group, please see the visiting pages.

Quick Museum Links:  - CatalogueAntiques ClubShop - Blog -

The BOA Museum is the home of Cult Eyewear and many of the objects illustrated in that book can be seen on display in our permanent exhibitions.





Museums Accreditation Scheme logo

UK Accredited Museum No 2069

Much of our collection can be viewed in our online catalogue

 Art UK logo


Latest News

  1. Museum contributes historical timeline to OPO

    The College's research journal marked its anniversary with a special editorial co-written by the curator

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Member of the
London Museums
of Health and Medicine

Arts Council funding logo

Recipient of PRISM funding
administered by Arts Council England