The Archives & Museum of Optometry


To view the Archives & Museum of Optometry’s holdings, click here.

The Archives & Museum of Optometry has its roots in 1908 when the Physiological Branch of the American Association of Opticians became the Physiological Section and established a circulating library. Over the years, the library underwent several organizational changes and locations before relocating to the AOA offices in St. Louis in 1953. Much of the collection came from the libraries of Ernest H. Kiekenapp, AOA secretary in 1923, who had been director of the AOA’s Department of Education, Walter Kimball, AOA’s director of Department of Public Information, and Elmer Soles with AOA’s Department of Public Relations.

In 1972, the library was named the International Library, Archives, and Museum of Optometry (ILAMO). ILAMO assisted with continuing education, promoted research services, and provided assistance to AOA members and staff. ILAMO closed in 2009; however, the Archives and Museum of Optometry continues to collect and preserve historical records, publications, and artifacts. Its purpose is to serve as the primary repository of information and resources on the history of the American Optometric Association and the profession of optometry. Reference service is provided to AOA members, optometrists, AOA staff, and others interested in optometry’s history.

The Archives & Museum is a partner of the Optometric Historical Society, which was founded by former AOA president Dr. Henry Hofstetter and ILAMO librarian Maria Dablemont in 1969. The purpose of the OHS is to encourage the collection and preservation of materials and sites related to the history of optometry, to honor persons and groups making notable heritage contributions, and to document and share the story of optometry with others. Members receive a quarterly journal, Hindsight: The Journal of Optometry History, formerly the Newsletter of the OHS.

PLEASE NOTE: We will be moving our collections off-site temporarily and access and reference will be restricted. Access and reference to the collections will cease July 1, 2015 for external researchers and July 6, 2015 for staff of the AOA. Emergency reference requests for AOA staff can be directed to:

Kirsten Hébert, Heritage Services Specialist,




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