The British Optical Association Museum is located in a charming Georgian house, just off the Strand in Central London. All visits are by guided tour and we are happy to offer tours to groups or individuals, but you must book in advance.  

We're starting to re-open!

The museum is currently in a ‘soft’ opening phase whilst continuing to undergo refurbishment. New displays are opening in phases during 2024. There may be further brief closures as we implement these changes.

Phase one re-opening

Museum Display Galleries

Our two subterranean spaces offer an intimate encounter with a cross-section of our extensive historic collection of artefacts relating to optometry, the eye and visual health.

The Sutcliffe Room: antique spectacles and other vision aids, including sunglasses, monocles, spyglasses, opera glasses and cameras 
Now open for pre-booked tours. If you contact us, asking to visit ‘the museum’, this is what you will see.  
Availability: Monday-Friday 10.00am-5.00pm (last appointment)
Duration: 30-40 minutes
Admission: Free
Booking: Contact us below to arrange a tour.

The Giles Room (sight-testing equipment, ophthalmic lenses, ocular anatomy and hygiene, prosthetics and contact lenses) 
Currently closed. Will re-open as part of phase two later in the year.

Meeting Room Tours

The above-ground spaces in the College may be visited as part of our extended pre-booked tours (which also include the Museum Display Galleries). You will see the College’s fine collection of paintings, prints and sculpture, as well as a few of the historic objects and maybe some of the rare books. Please note that the College is a working building so the availability of Meeting Room Tours is subject to other demands on the use of the rooms. Not all tours may be able to include every room. We recommend you have more than one date and time in mind when contacting us to arrange your appointment. 
Availability: Monday-Friday 10.00am-3.00pm (last appointment)
Duration: One and a half to two hours
Suitable for: individuals or groups of up to 25 people
Admission: £10 per person (payable on the day)
Booking: Contact us below to arrange a tour.


Researchers can make an appointment to use the library resources or to view specific items from the collection. 
Availability: Monday-Friday 10.00am-4.00pm (last appointment)
Booking: Contact us below to arrange an appointment.


We will be closed on the following dates in 2024: 

  • 22 April - 6 May 2024 (inclusive)
  • 16 May 2024
  • 20-24 May 2024 (inclusive)
  • 27 May 2024 (Bank Holiday)
  • 3-14 June 2024 (inclusive)
  • 26 August 2024 (Bank Holiday).

Special events

Open House Festival/Heritage Open Days event.
Date: Sunday 15 September 2024
Time: 12.00am-5.00pm. 
Admission: Free
Booking: No need to pre-book.

Keep checking this page for the latest information.

We look forward to seeing you!

Contact us

For further information, to discuss your needs, or make an appointment, please contact the Curator:

Neil Handley PhD, AMA, FRSA 
Museum Curator 
British Optical Association Museum 
The College of Optometrists 
42 Craven Street, London, WC2N 5NG United Kingdom 

T: +44 (0)20 7766 4353  

Monday-Friday 10.00am-5.30pm 


Twitter: @CollegeOptomUK (#musEYEum) 

Instagram: @collegeofoptometrists and @musEYEum (#musEYEum)

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