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 physician’s 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” and a white ceramic jar labeled “Leeches” next to an antique brass cash register.

The back of the shop has a recreated pharmacist’s work area complete with mortar and pestle, microscopes, and wooden blenders “used to mix talcum powder and alum for use in purifying river water, which was otherwise consumed directly from the Mississippi River.” 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 significance of that competence for the public health. It also hosts the extensive Dr. J. William Rosenthal’s Spectacles Collection on the second floor.

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