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Res Pharmaceuticae

Res Pharmaceuticae (Pharmaceutical Things), our new core exhibition, comprises the following areas:

Officina sanitatis

Officina sanitatis is the Latin name for a pharmacy. Until the mid 20th century, pharmacies not only sold medicines, but also produced them. They also produced cosmetics, inks, candles and sweets. Proprietary drugs, produced by the pharmaceutical industry, entered distribution in the late 19th century. The exhibition presents the pharmacy’s interior from the 1920s and 1930s.

Materia medica

The exhibition presents pharmaceutical utensils and containers, as well as proprietary medicines, in order to show the effects of various medicines on the human body. The pharmaceutical instruments create a narrative about the history of pharmacy.

Colour and cut

Due to its high resistance against chemical agents, glass was the main material used for making pharmaceutical containers. Contrary to metal cans or wooden boxes, glass does not absorb humidity, does not mould, is not reactive to the contents of the packaging and is easy to clean.

Antonina Leśniewska, MPharm

Antonina Leśniewska (1866–1937) took up the fight for the access to higher education in pharmaceutical sciences for women. In 1900, she challenged stereotypes and became one of the first female BPharm graduates in the world. A year later she obtained the Master of Pharmacy degree from the Military Medical Academy in St. Petersburg. The title made it possible for her to open the first pharmacy in that city to employ women only. In 1918, she returned to Warsaw. In 1934, she opened Marszałkowska Pharmacy in Warsaw’s city centre. The only surviving copy of her memoirs belongs to the collection of the Museum of Pharmacy.

Kampo medicines in the Japanese tradition

Up until the 6th century, healing methods in Japan were based on shamanist practices. Chinese medicine chu-i, known in Japanese as Kampo or the “Chinese method”, began to spread through the Japanese islands in the 6th century. Adapted by the Japanese culture, it has retained its original character until today. Kampo medicines are today an integral part of the Japanese pharmaceutical industry.

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