A few dozens of museums can be visited in Kaunas, from small memorial exhibitions to vast halls dedicated to Lithuanian art. The Museum of the History of Lithuanian Medicine and Pharmacy is somewhere in the middle of the list. It’s conveniently located in a restored 16th-century merchants house at the Town Hall Square – don’t be fooled, though, as it only moved here in 1987, although the history of the museum dates back to 1936.
In the 1930s, all of the pharmacies in Lithuania got asked to send their old recipe books and other interesting memorabilia to the newly established Museum of Pharmacy, then located on K. Donelaičio street. The funds of the museum were heavily damaged by a flood – only a small part of the items remained intact. In the 1960s, the idea of the museum was taken over by a pharmacy professor Alfonsas Kaikaris – he quickly spread the virus further and that’s why the collection of the museum is so interesting today.
As you can tell from the name, the museum consists of two departments. An authentic 19th-century pharmacy welcomes the visitors on the ground floor; you can visit the cabinets of a dentist and an oculist above the pharmacy. As the museum is now owned by the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, its history is also thoroughly exhibited.
What’s even more interesting is the basement – that’s where the history of ‘unofficial’ medicine is revealed. History of shamanism and ginseng root (presented to the museum by the Tibetan Lama himself) for starters and drilled sculls for desert!
The Museum of the History of Lithuanian Medicine and Pharmacy (Rotušės a. 28) is open 10AM-5PM Thu-Sat; the price of an English guided tour is 9 EUR. Absolutely worth it!
All photos by Artūras Bulota