Czech Pharmaceutical Museum

Czech Pharmaceutical Museum


Since the end of the last century, Czech pharmacists and pharmacy historiographers have endeavored to build a museum for their profession, but until the present moment have enjoyed only partial and provisional results. The collection which has been gathered now happens to be administered by the Pharmacy Faculty of Charles University, which is charged with the mission of establishing the central Czech Pharmaceutical Museum.

Since 1972, the Pharmacy Faculty has been trying to build this museum in the hospital of Kuks, a village to the northwest of the town of Jaromer. The hospital is a suitable place because of its health-service and pharmaceutical tradition. The Pharmaceutical Museum will link up with the beautiful, well-preserved baroque pharmacy dating from 1743, which ranks among the cultural, historical, artistic and pharmaceutical gems of Europe.


The historical collection of the faculty includes a large number of widely varying items. There are various items, such as pharmaceuticals and preparations manufactured by both the inland and foreign pharmaceutical industries; apothecary jars and other wooden, glass, ceramic and metal vessels; as well as packaging materials such as bags, boxes and labels. There are also instruments for production, as well as various apparati, such as weights and balances, mortars, mills, presses, pill-manufacturing tools, tableting machines, and analytical and preparative chemical glassware. Several sets of furniture from pharmacies, as well as cupboards and dispensing counters, await display. The collection also includes photographs, posters, promotion materials, and nearly one thousand book plates of Czech and Slovak pharmacists. Statues, reliefs, pictures and diplomas of pharmacis arts are also included.

Museum items supplemented with large archives and about 15,000 volumes and periodicals, the largest historical pharmaceutical library in the Czech Republic. The collection, along with the archives and library, has therefore become the research base of pharmaceutical museology as a new historical discipline, and of the history of pharmacy, its elder sister. It is worth mentioning that, since 1972, the degree papers of undergraduate and postgraduate students have been using the materials collected here.

The items of the collection are also employed to supplement instruction at the Pharmacy Faculty, in lectures and seminars on the history of pharmacy, social pharmacy, and pharmaceutical service. In agreement with other departments of the faculty, the pedagogical use is to be gradually enlarged after the installation of the museum collection, which would be open to the public as well. Using the means typical of museums, the development of the whole field of pharmacy in the Czech lands in the context of general history will be shown. Pharmaceutical service will be represented in the most extensive and comprehensive manner, but there will also be exhibits concerning other branches, such as pharmaceutical research, industry, control, and wholesale, as well as on the informatics, educational system, and historiography of pharmacy. Attention will also be paid to the biographies of pharmacists, regardless of their nationalities.


Selected parts of the collection have already been exhibited on the faculty premises and on the occassions of pharmaceutical congresses, both in this country (in 1966, 1976, and 1979) and abroad (Cottbus 1980). A large, one-year exhibition called "The Charm of the Apothocary´s" was installed in the Regional Museum in Hradec Kralove in 1982.

First part of the exposition was opened 18.5.1996 for a wide public.It shows the development of apothecaries from the 17th to the 20th century.

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