Development of Pharmacy in Latvia
The exhibition traces the history of the emergence and evolution of pharmacies, the development and founding fathers of pharmacological education, the dominant areas of scientific activity and objectives of scientific societies in Latvia. Using the original furniture of the Pharmacy of the University of Latvia, donated to Pauls Stradiņš Museum of the History of Medicine by the Department of Pharmaceutical Dosage Form Technology, Faculty of Pharmacy of Riga Medical Institution, a typical decor of a 1920s-1930s pharmacy has been recreated, showcasing the specialist furniture, equipment and containers that could only be found in pharmacies.
Areas of Pharmacy
The exhibition presents an overview of pharmaceutical dosage form technology in pharmacies and industrial production, pharmaceutical chemistry, pharmacognosy and homeopathy. The display features 18th‒19th-century pharmacy equipment, devices for compounding medications, dosage forms and packaging.
Pharmacy Porcelainware, Glassware and Mortars and Pestles
The exhibition demonstrates the evolution of containers used in pharmacies from the ancient times until the present day, the diversity of shapes and materials (stone, clay, wood, glass, porcelain). It displays the collection of pharmacognostic visual aids owned by Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Latvia.
18th-19th Century Pharmacy/Laboratory
The exhibition provides an insight into the mystical world of a medieval alchemist and invites to imagine the techniques employed in search for the philosophers' stone and the elixir of eternal youth - distillation, sublimation, etc.
The display presents the specific layout and furnishing of the room used for compounding prescription medication at Soviet-era (1940-1990) pharmacies, featuring the characteristic furniture, equipment and containers. This type of assistant's room is increasingly rare in modern-day pharmacies and deserves a place in the permanent exhibition of the Pharmacy Museum as an example of the cultural and historical heritage.
Considering an increased interest in healthy and active lifestyle shown by our visitors, a display dedicated to the 'black bathhouse' or 'smoke bathhouse' was set up in the courtyard lodge. It offers an insight into the Latvian pirts (bathhouse) traditions that are still in use today.
Apothecary / Wine Cellar
The display demonstrates a range of goods sold at the medieval pharmacy where spices, sweets and various beverages were on offer alongside medicine. An important role was played by wine: it was widely believed that half a teaspoon of this drink will chase away any illness. Physicians routinely prescribed quality wine for the general nourishment of the body.
Medicinal Plant Garden
Thanks to support from the Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia, in 2021 the museum's courtyard garden of medicinal plants was renovated, considerably expanding its range. Herbs widely used in traditional medicine are represented in the garden alongside some rare species and even plants steeped in myth, like the mandrake.
For some rest and relaxation, wooden benches and a table have been set up so you can sit down and drink in the atmosphere of the ancient Riga conveyed by the murals in the passageway.
Assistant's Room Stained Glass Panels by Tenis Grasis
A pleasant ambience is created by stained glass panels created by the artist Tenis Grasis (1925-2001), lit up during the dark hours of the day.
The display in front of the folk healer's hut showcases the diversity of the Latvian flora and some healing techniques employed in traditional folk medicine - cupping with horns and 'expulsion of the bristles'.