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New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

514 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

Opening Hours

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Visit the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum late in the afternoon when the tourist crowds have thinned out for a more intimate exploration of its fascinating exhibits. Also, don't miss the medicinal herb garden at the back which is a hidden gem and a quiet spot often overlooked by visitors."

What is New Orleans Pharmacy Museum?

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is a fascinating journey into the history of pharmacy and healthcare, tucked away in the heart of the French Quarter. This hidden gem is located on the site of the apothecary of America’s first licensed pharmacist, Louis J. Dufilho, Jr. The museum is housed in a beautifully preserved Creole townhouse, showcasing a wide array of medical artifacts, from 19th-century surgical instruments to original apothecary bottles. It's like taking a step back in time, where you'll find items and practices that seem almost magical by today's standards.

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History of New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

The property that holds the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum has witnessed a remarkable history since the early 19th century. In 1823, Louis J. Dufilho, Jr. became the first pharmacist in the United States to pass a formal pharmacy exam, paving the way for professional pharmaceutical practice. Dufilho operated his pharmacy here, which later also became the home of Dr. Joseph Dupas, who some tales suggest may have dabbed into voodoo and other mystical practices. The museum not only celebrates the history of pharmacy but also highlights the cultural melting pot that New Orleans has always been, with influences spanning European, African, and Indigenous American traditions.

After functioning as a pharmacy for over a century, the building was converted into a museum in the 1950s. It opened to the public in 1950, inviting visitors to learn about the history of medicine, pharmacy, and healthcare, specifically as practiced in New Orleans, but also reflecting broader historical trends in these fields. The authenticity of the museum is maintained by its original architecture and meticulously curated exhibits, which offer a candid look into the past.

Why is New Orleans Pharmacy Museum Important?

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is important not only as a monument to the history of pharmacy in America but also for its educational value and its deep connection to the fabric of the city. It stands as a testament to the advancement of medical science, from rudimentary and sometimes harmful practices to the more enlightened and researched methods of today. The museum gives us a deeper appreciation for the complexities and the journey of healthcare throughout the ages.

Additionally, it contributes to the rich tapestry of New Orleans' heritage, bringing to life the stories and practices of the people who lived there through personal artifacts, records, and even their personal pharmaceutical preparations. By delving into this aspect of New Orleans’ past, the museum offers a unique insight into how residents of the city have blended scientific and cultural practices to care for their community.

Things to Do & See at New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Upon entering the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, you’re greeted with shelves lined with jars of medicinal herbs, patent medicines, and glass vials, which were once common in a 19th-century apothecary. There's an extensive collection of old prescriptions, some of which feature ingredients you would never find in modern medicine. The second floor, which was once the living quarters, now features exhibits on spectacles of medicine from the past, such as questionable medical practices and even a display about voodoo potions and cures.

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You can also see the original pharmacist’s workbench and tools, giving you a clear picture of the day-to-day operations of an early pharmacy. And for those interested in the darker side of New Orleans' history, there are surgical instruments and stories about the yellow fever epidemics that swept through Louisiana. Besides exploring the exhibits, the museum also offers guided tours that highlight unique stories and little-known facts about the items on display, providing an even richer understanding of the local history.

And if you happen to visit in October, you might get to experience the museum's famous "Annual Yellow Fever Tour," which is both an educational and a hair-raising journey through one of the most devastating periods in the city's history. With its comprehensive collection and the vivid stories told by knowledgeable staff, a visit to the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is sure to be an enlightening experience.

Frequently asked questions

What is the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum?

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is a museum located in the French Quarter of New Orleans, showcasing the history and heritage of pharmacy and healthcare dating back to the 19th century.

Where is the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum located?

The museum is situated in the heart of the French Quarter at 514 Chartres Street, New Orleans, LA 70130.

What can visitors see at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum?

Visitors can explore a wide range of pharmaceutical artifacts, including antique medicines, surgical instruments, and apothecary jars, as well as learn about the practices and progress of early pharmacology in the region.

Is the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum located in an historic building?

Yes, the museum is housed in a building that dates back to 1823 and was once the apothecary of Louis J. Dufilho, Jr., America's first licensed pharmacist.

Are there guided tours available at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum?

Yes, the museum offers guided tours that provide a deep dive into the history of the pharmacy and healthcare during the 19th century, including stories about the yellow fever epidemics and voodoo remedies.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

514 Chartres St, New Orleans, LA 70130, USA

Opening Hours

10:00 AM - 4:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps