Visits to the museum are by prior appointment only. You cannot simply show up at our door. We operate a semi-automated booking system. You may use the electronic form on this page to enquire about making an appointment to visit the museum...but we will contact you separately to confirm the arrangement and/or discuss alternative possibilities. Please do not turn up at the museum unless you have received a firm confirmation of booking for a mutually agreed date and time.

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When requesting an appointment to visit the museum there are certain things we would ask you to bear in mind:

  • We are a privately-owned museum that welcomes public visitors out of pleasure but not as of right.
  • That said, anyone is welcome to request an appointment and we are always delighted to receive each and every one of our visitor requests.
  • This is a working building whose primary purpose is not to serve as a tourist attraction, so please forgive us if we can only offer minimal visitor facilities.
  • 'Off-the-street' visitors are not admitted. All visits must be pre-booked!
  • All visits are by guided tour, led by the Museum Curator, who is the only person who gives the tours but who, inevitably, cannot always be available at the museum every day.
  • Scroll down to see the regularly updated list of which mornings or afternoons we already know we will definitely be closed and hence no appointments will be available.
  • We are currently experiencing high demand for visits. We are therefore unable to offer same-day appointments. Please contact us to book your visit a minimum of 24 hours in advance (not including weekends).
  • To request an appointment to visit the British Optical Association Museum at the College of Optometrists please contact the Museum Curator, either by the online form or by email, stating which tour you would like to book:
    • Standard Museum Tour - a guided tour of the Sutcliffe Room and Giles Room.
      Free of charge (donations invited). This tour typically takes about 45 minutes.
    • Full Building Tour - a guided tour of the College meeting rooms as well as the Sutcliffe Room and Giles Room. £5 per person. N.B. This tour takes between 1.5 and 2 hours. Availability is limited because the meeting rooms are frequently in use for the College's other purposes.

If you simply ask to 'visit the museum' we will assume you mean the Standard Tour option. Whichever method of contact you choose please bear in mind that, for operational reasons, we cannot guarantee to offer you your first choice of appointment day or time. Please have an alternative date or time in mind. The College Meeting Rooms have a heavy programme of use and so, regrettably, Full Building Tours will not always be possible.

If emailing or leaving a voice message over the telephone, please give your name, contact details, the number of people in your party and the dates and times you would like to visit.

Telephone: +44 (0)20 7766 4353 (direct line with voice mail service in the Curator's absence).

Email: use this link to email the museum.

Post: The Curator, British Optical Association Museum, The College of Optometrists, 42 Craven Street, London, WC2N 5NG

**Advance Notice of Closure Dates 2018**

We regret that the museum will also be closed for operational reasons, including staff absences and College events, on the following dates this year:

  • Wednesday 17 January 2018 - Fully booked in morning - appointments still available in the afternoon
  • Thursday 8 February 2018 - We are not currently accepting bookings for this date. Check back later.
  • Spring Closure: Tuesday 17 April-Tuesday 1 May 2018 inclusive (provisional dates tbc)
  • Wednesday 6 June 2018 - closed in the morning - appointments still available in the afternoon
  • Friday 8 June 2018 - due to an external lecture
  • In June 2018 we are also not taking bookings at present for the following dates, but please check back as this may change: 11-15 June, 28-29 June
  • Christmas and New Year closure: The College closes for the entire period between Christmas and New Year, so it is not possible to provide visitor access to the museum. This year we expect the College will close at midday on Friday 21 December 2018 and reopen at 9.30am on Wednesday 2 January 2019 (tbc)

Remember that the museum is always closed at weekends and on UK public holidays. In 2018 these include:

Friday 30 March (Good Friday), Monday 2 April (Easter Monday), Monday 7 May (Early Spring Bank Holiday), Monday 28 May (Spring Bank Holiday), Monday 27 August (Summer Bank Holiday).

Appointments should be available at most other times subject to levels of demand and subject to you giving us sufficient notice.

You are welcome to write, email or leave a voice message at any time.

Online Appointment Request Form




The AGM of the Ophthalmic Antiques International Collectors' Club will once again be hosted by the museum on Sunday 13 May 2018. For club members this is another excellent opportunity to gain weekend access to the displays and to pick up a bargain at the now famous OAICC auction.

As part of the annual Open House London event, the museum and meeting rooms will once again be open free of charge and without need for an appointment on Sunday 23 September 2018 between 1pm and 5pm. Visitors can just drop-in between those hours and a warm welcome is assured.

This event has expanded every year in which we have participated. In 2017, which was the 25th anniversary of Open House London (and the fourteenth time the College had participated) we attracted 452 people. Will you help us surpass this figure in 2018?

We would also love to hear from College Members who might be willing to help as volunteer stewards in this and similar events. Please contact the curator.