New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

In a town of unique destinations, colorful attractions, and quirky institutions, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum undoubtedly ranks right up there with the most distinctive of them. Housed in a historic building that was once home to America’s first licensed pharmacy, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum contains hundreds of historic apothecary bottles, surgical instruments, and voodoo potions. Its prominent location, just two blocks from Jackson Square, makes it a terrific gateway to the many charms of the one and only French Quarter.

Money Saving Tip! New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is included on the Go New Orleans Pass. If you are sightseeing in New Orleans, then you can save a lot of money with a pass.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum History

The building in which the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is housed has played an important role in the evolution of modern medicine. It was here that Louis Dufilho, Jr. once lived and worked, operating a small apothecary shop on Chartres Street near The Cabildo around the turn of the nineteenth century. As the territory of Louisiana came under the control of the United States, the authorities passed a law mandating certain standards for those individuals wishing to legally operate apothecaries. Louis Dufilho, Jr. became the first person to pass this new licensing test, thereby making his business the first licensed pharmacy in the country. It’s on this historic site that the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum stands today.

What’s at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Admission to the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum typically costs about $10 per person, with small discounts provided to students, military personnel, and visitors over the age of 65 years old. There are no tours provided, as the attraction is entirely self-directed. Most visitors tend to spend 60 to 90 minutes here.

The first floor of the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum contains all manner of curious historical objects pertaining to the nineteenth-century practice of medicine. Highlights in this space include rows and rows of apothecary jars with intriguing labels like “Red Serpent,” cabinets full of old-timey perfumes, cosmetics, and surgical instruments, and of course the ever-mysterious vials of “voodoo potions.”

One of the most striking parts of the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is the historic building’s lovely courtyard. With its stylish red bricks, leafy trees, wrought-iron fences, vintage streetlamps, and stone fountain, it’s traditionally a favorite spot for photographs.

The museum’s second floor recreates the nineteenth-century proprietor’s living quarters. Of special interest to many guests will be the resident physician’s study and sick rooms. The second floor also contains a collection of antique eyeglasses and occasionally houses temporary special exhibits.

Tips for Visiting the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

  • The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is a popular venue for weddings, receptions, and other special events. As a result, it is from time to time closed to the public when it might otherwise be open. The safest bet for avoiding the disappointment of arriving here only to find it closed for the day is to check their official website’s calendar of events ahead of time.
  • Along those same lines, even on days when the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is open, it’s possible the venue will open late or close early due to special event commitments. As a result, it’s very important to keep an eye on the attraction’s calendar in advance of your planned visit.
  • For those individuals hoping to go home with a suitable souvenir, the Museum Shop sells a small assortment of clothing, books, and posters.