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 in a ‘soft’ opening phase whilst continuing to undergo refurbishment. New displays are opening in phases during 2024.

Phase 1 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) is now open for pre-booked visits from Monday-Friday 10.00am-5.00pm (last appointment). If you contact us, asking to visit ‘the museum’, this is what you will see. Admission free.

The Giles Room (sight-testing equipment, ophthalmic lenses, ocular anatomy and hygiene, prosthetics and contact lenses) will re-open as part of Phase 2 later in the year.

Meeting Room Tours
The above-ground spaces in the College may also be visited 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).

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

It may not be possible to book visits, Meeting Room Tours or research sessions on certain days in 2024 due to public holidays or College events, or we may already be fully booked. The current unavailable dates are listed below: 

  • 14 February 2024
  • 22 February 2024
  • 8 March 2024
  • 11 March 2024
  • 18 March 2024
  • 29 March 2024 (Good Friday)
  • 1 April 2024 (Easter Monday Bank Holiday)
  • Late April/Early May due to the meeting of the Ocular Heritage Society (precise closure dates to be confirmed)
  • 6 May 2024 (Bank Holiday)
  • 27 May 2024 (Bank Holiday)
  • 26 August 2024 (Bank Holiday)

Special events
We anticipate our annual Open House Festival/Heritage Open Days event will be on Sunday 15 September 2024, 12.00am-5.00pm. Admission free, with 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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