New Orleans Pharmacy Museum – New Orleans, Louisiana - Atlas Obscura
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New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

The curiosities and wonders of pharmacy in a delightful historic building. 

In a two-story historic building in the French Quarter of New Orleans, this pharmacy museum showcases its extensive collection and provides educational programs on the history of pharmacy and health care.

Among the holdings of the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is a large collection of apothecary jars containing their original ingredients, old wheelchairs, black leather physicians’ bags, medical instruments, eyeglasses, optical prosthetic devices, and surgical tools all displayed in hand-carved, glass-fronted cabinets.

Keep your eyes open for an array of voodoo potions, including the famous “Love Potion No. 9.” Next to an antique brass cash register, look for a white ceramic jar labeled “Leeches,” which nods to a time when the worms were affixed to people’s skin in the name of medicine.

The back of the shop has a recreated pharmacist’s work area, complete with mortar and pestle, microscopes, and wooden blenders. The museum also highlights the original role of the “soda fountain,” which once served the purpose of helping pharmacy customers chase a particularly nasty-tasting medicine.

The museum highlights the role of Louis Joseph Dufilho, Jr., whose work symbolizes the beginning of a system of certifying the professional competence of pharmacists and recognizing the vital role they could play in promoting public health. It also hosts the extensive Dr. J. William Rosenthal’s Spectacles Collection on the second floor.

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