The British Optical Association Museum is located in a charming Georgian house, just off the Strand in Central London. We are happy to offer guided tours of the museum and exhibitions to individuals and groups who book in advance.  

We're starting to re-open!

The museum is currently undergoing refurbishment, and the new displays will be fully open by the start of 2024, but for now we are able to offer some limited access by appointment, as outlined below.

Soft re-opening phase

Researchers can now make an appointment to use the library resources or to view specific items from the collection. Monday-Friday 10.00am-4.00pm (last appointment).

Meeting Room Tours
The above-ground spaces in the College are now ready to receive visitors once again on pre-booked guided tours. Tours are suitable for individuals or groups of up to 25 people, last one and a half to two hours and cost £10 per person, payable on the day. 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. Monday-Friday 10.00am-3.00pm (last appointment).

Museum Display Galleries
The Sutcliffe Room and the Giles Room, which contain the bulk of our object displays, are still undergoing refurbishment and will reopen soon. We currently anticipate that regular visiting arrangements will resume in January 2024 and we are happy to take advance bookings for dates after then. The opening times are expected to be 10.00am-5.00pm (last appointment).

Preview opportunities:

  • Thursday 2 November 2023 - Visit the museum in the afternoon between 2.00pm and 5.00pm (please contact us to make an appointment so we know to expect you). Admission free.

It may not be possible to book Meeting Room Tours or research sessions on certain days due to holidays, events, or we may already be fully booked. The current unavailable dates are listed below: 

  • 19 September to 2 October 2023 inclusive
  • 17 October 2023
  • 7 November 2023
  • 14 November 2023
  • 15 November 2023
  • 14 December 2023

Keep checking this page for the latest information.

We're looking 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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