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The British Optical Association Museum at the College of Optometrists is the museum of the eyecare professions. Founded in 1901, the museum is recognised as the oldest optical museum in the world. The collection comprises more than 28,000 items, including historic spectacles, sunglasses, contact lenses, sight-testing equipment, artificial eyes and the depiction of each of these topics in art. It is a fascinating mix of social and scientific history, also embracing elements of fashion trends, high street retail, celebrity culture (music and cinema), and the rarely addressed disability history of people with visual impairment.

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British Optical Association Museum
42 Craven Street
The College of Optometrists
WC2N 5NG London

Museum type(s)

Specialized & Alternative Science & Technology


Profession & Craft

Visitor information

Opening hours

All visits are strictly by prior appointment, available on weekdays only during business hours.

Due to COVID-19 the museum is currently closed to all visitors until further notice.

More opening hours


Full Building Tour - £10 per person

More admission


  • Museum shop

  • Credit card


42 Craven Street, London, England


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