Individual and Family Visits

As an individual or family visitor you can access the museum in three ways:

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  1. You may book a Standard Museum Tour to visit our formal displays in the Sutcliffe and Giles Rooms (Free of charge to all. Donations invited)
  2. You may book a Full Building Tour to visit the displays mentioned above as well as the College meeting rooms (Limited availability. Fee charged for non-members of the College)
  3. You may request permission to study our reserve collections

Standard Museum Tour - details

This is a permanent exhibition highlighting the vast range of our collections and showcasing some of the College's treasures. The displays are constantly evolving and there are also temporary exhibition cases on diverse topics. The Sutcliffe Room and the adjoining Giles Room may be visited by members of the general public, free of charge but strictly by advance appointment.

We are normally able to accommodate visitors between 9.30am-5pm from Monday-Friday (excluding public holidays). Last appointment 5.00pm. Accompanied children are welcome but please bear in mind that this is a working building. All visits are supervised by a member of Museum staff who will be pleased to answer your questions or supply further information on any relevant historic topic. The Gallery is quite small. An average visit lasts around 30-40 minutes, though enthusiasts for ophthalmic antiques and historic spectacles often spend much longer!

Full Building Tour - details

The prestige rooms of the College include the Council Room with ante-room, the Panelled Room and Print Room. They contain many of the College's finest paintings, prints, furniture and items of decorative art. It is possible to take an extended tour of these rooms guided by the Curator for a fee. You will also get to see the spaces included as part of our Standard Museum Tour (see above). Don't worry if you're on your own...we'll still give you the full tour!

You can book a tour any time between 9.30am-5pm from Monday-Friday (excluding public holidays) with the last appointment at 4.30pm but, because the meeting rooms are in frequent use, the number of available appointments is strictly limited and one or more rooms may not be available - sometimes at short notice.

£5 per person (no concessions; College Fellows and Members free. Members of the Museums Association free).

Study visits

We provide space in our Library for the benefit of bona fide researchers who wish to explore the museum collections in more detail. Items may be requested from the stores for supervised inspection and the museum's subject information files consulted. We also hold a range of ophthalmic trade catalogues (including a limited number stored on microfiche) and information about the collections of related international museums. Included in this free service is access to our rare and historical books collection, held under lock and key.

If you think you would like to study any of our museum resources, including the collection of rare books, please contact the Curator to discuss your needs. Access to study facilities is available between 9.30am-5pm from Monday-Friday (excluding public holidays). Last appointment 4.30pm.

Request photocopying service available at 10p per sheet (free to College members). Document scanning service also available.

Our ophthalmic heritage study service is distinct from but complementary to that of the BOA Library. Members of the public may also visit the library to access the modern books, on open shelves, for research and references purposes (but without borrowing rights). Such visits are by prior appointment with the librarian (not the curator) and a small charge is payable: £10 for one day, £20 for one week, or £35 for a month. Please contact the library for further information. Note that practising optometrists who are not College Members will not be permitted to use the library in this way.


Check out our facilities and how to get to the museum
Book your appointment


The Museum welcomes all potential users. Please refer to our Standards of Service

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