The Pharmacy Museum is located in the building that Louis Dufilho Jr used. He was America’s first licensed pharmacist and started in 1823. Louisiana was the first state that required licenses for medical practitioners starting in 1816. The building was the pharmacy/apothecary until 1855. It sustained damage and was abandoned until 1950 when it opened as a museum featuring all kinds of different displays and objects. This was a really cool stop on our trip.
Sadly my husband and I had to go through the museum out of order because we came with a bit of a crowd. If you start from point A to B, you should get an overview of pharmacology and medicine, going from the rather extreme, to homeopathy, into what more modern medicine is today. It shows the connection between methods that were completely cruel, unnecessary, and rather disgusting at times, but also how some older applications shaped modern medicine today.
I was rather lucky to go with my husband, a pharmacy tech, because he was able to point out a lot of what might seem outdated to the average eye, based on location and other methods that surround it, but is actually still used – refined and safer – today. Case in point ampules and how the old school ones are not much different than they are today, although the filtering process to avoid injecting glass in people is.
I was happy that the whole museum wasn’t just dedicated to the grotesque, although no surprise here, some of that was pretty cool in that morbid way. It was rather interesting just to see, even if we did it out of order, how medicine changed over time and the steps that we took along the way. It was also just cool to see all the old medical equipment, bottles, glasses, cases, and advertisements; I mean, they have a hell of a collection.
They also talked a bit about the notion of a pharmacy/store, including having an old soda station and how that all came about.
The price is rather low, they could have easily charged more, and it would have still been worth it and it’s a really fascinating place. You won’t see anything graphic, but you will read some descriptions of it, so viewer beware. I would highly recommend a stop here, though.
Also, once again, the role that New Orleans and Louisiana played in things that I had no clue about. First licensed pharmacist? I never would have known.