It is the dog days of summer and what better time to take a road trip? Why check out the World’s Largest Ball of Twine in Kansas or the Lucy the Elephant, a building in New Jersey, when you can see and learn more about the wonders of pharmacy? Take a trek across the United States and check out some great pharmacy destinations.
We are taking you across the U.S. of A. from west to east, but if you want to start in the east and head for the sunset, go for it. Remember to pack lots of snacks, some sunscreen, and bring the kids.
In the late 1880s, thousands of Chinese immigrants came to the United States during the Gold Rush, but found jobs doing almost everything but mining gold. They brought with them aspects of their culture, including herbal and traditional medicine. In 1851, Dr. Yee Fung Cheung built a structure that served as his medical office, herbal dispensary, and home in Fiddletown. Cheung’s herbal store was later owned by a man named Chew Kee. The building has been restored and preserved, with its cabinets and drawers showing how Chinese medicines were stored and dispensed.
From California, head southeast to Tucson, to the History of Pharmacy Museum at the University of Arizona, which has one of the largest collections of pharmacy artifacts in the world. The college created the museum after Jesse Hurlbut left a huge collection of pharmacy memorabilia, which he had collected over decades as a state pharmacy board inspector. The number of artifacts has grown ever since. You can see a full-sized replica of an old-fashioned drugstore, and a bit more weirdly, a collection of gangster John Dillinger’s chewed gum.
The museum is laid out in several locations at the College of Pharmacy, including the Skaggs Pharmaceutical Sciences Center and the Drachman Building.
Head east again to the Big Easy, where the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is located in the Vieux Carre Historic District of the city. You can see show globes, perfumes and cosmetics, old soda fountains, and a display of questionable medical practices. This being New Orleans, it is no big surprise that the museum has a display of voodoo potions.
If you are traveling with your beloved, the museum also is a site for weddings and events.
Head farther east to Mississippi and take a break from indoor settings. Enjoy the literal roots of pharmacy at the Maynard W. Quimby Medicinal Plant Garden. The garden contains large numbers of medicinally important plants and serves as a center for research and education at the National Center for Natural Products Research at the School of Pharmacy at the University of Mississippi.
Nothing beats the area in and around Washington, DC, for history museums and monuments. The DEA has its own museum dedicated to showing off the history of drug enforcement and the impact of drug addiction over the years. Exhibits cover topics like cannabis, coca, and poppies; illegal drugs in America; drug diversion, and the costs and consequences of drugs. You can see items related to illicit drug use and trafficking, including items used to hide and smuggle drugs.
The museum also has displays honoring DEA agents who have been wounded or killed in the line of duty.
Now that you are in the Washington area, drop in at the APhA headquarters, right by the National Mall. APhA has several exhibits and areas worth taking a look at. There is the Art Gallery, featuring paintings of Great Moments in Pharmacy, the association’s library and archives, and its Botanical Garden. The garden features plants that have medicinal and healing properties. Visitors can take an interactive tour of the garden. The Potomac View Terrace at the headquarters is another place you can rent out for your wedding, by the way.
Our last leg of the road trip takes you to New England. The Heber W. Youngken Jr. Medicinal Garden at the College of Pharmacy of the University of Rhode Island contains plants that can help prevent or cure “everything from cold sores to cancer,” according to the school’s website. The garden is a site for research and education about medicinal botany, but also features ornamental plants, benches in the shape of birch leaves, and a sculptural frieze that depicts plant life in laboratory slides.