Optical Heritage Museum Web Site



Opticians Association of MA

Meeting in 2010

(See bottom of Page  for 2011 / 2012 Meeting info)


The AO Main Plant Entrance across from the newly erected AO Sculpture.


See another view of this AO Main Plant door shown in 1907




For the first time, the Opticians Association of Massachusetts held their Fall Education Conference on November 7th , 2010 at the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center. This beautiful facility opened in 2002 and was built on the site of the former American Optical Company in Southbridge, MA, considered by many to be the birthplace of the optical industry in the US.

 The Optical Heritage Museum, a collection currently in storage, originated as the AO Museum put together by John Young and other former AO employees in 1983. The artifacts are now maintained by Dick Whitney, Global Standards Manager at Carl Zeiss Vision, and Donna Silverberg, who hope to put the collection on permanent display in the future. Diane Matuck of the OAM joined forces with them to help put together a display to celebrate the contributions of the American Optical Company to opticianry, and to help raise awareness and funds for the museum.

 The meeting was attended by over 300 opticians and OAM sponsors, and awards were given at the annual meeting to Denise Cook, OAM Lifetime Achievement Award, Dick Whitney, OAM Presidents Award, and Diane Matuck, OAM Optician of the Year Award.  The hotel retained a few key features of the old facility, including the original front entrance that served as a backdrop for photographs taken of the many visitors who came to the AO over the years.

 A group photo was taken of opticians who came early to take advantage of a tour given by Dick Whitney, who worked as an ophthalmic lens designer for AO for many years.

Take a web tour of the AO Grounds:



As shown at the bottom of this page,

they had been at AO Southbridge before!


Photos from Nov 6 and 7th 2010 conference of the MA Opticians meeting at the Southbridge Hotel and Conference Center






















They met in Southbridge in 1902 and 1905 and returned in 2010!


Download 1902 program                                                  Download 1905 Article


At the OAM meeting in Nov 2010, Charles Walsh presented me with two fascinating AO Memos with regard to JFK and AO Glasses.

Here is the link, where the first letter was rec'd on Nov 22, 1963!


Nov 2012 Meeting info





Lens Materials- History of CR39


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Optical Industry Vintage Advertising


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