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Hispanic Pharmacy Museum

Museo de la Farmacia Hispana


Most of the collections are from the pre-industrial period of pharmacy, so the majority of the collections consist of drug storage containers and traditional dispensing equipment. The first group includes items such as jars, flasks, glasses, curbs or wooden boxes. The second includes mortars, scales and measuring tools, recipients for making medical water, medicine cabinets and first-aid kits, as well as a wide range of laboratory equipment for distillation.

The medicines on display range from the pre-scientific tradition such as "the great beast"s hoof", "the unicorn", the rhinoceros horn, “terra sigillata” or mummy flesh, as well as some of the most traditional pharmacopoeias, such as "Theriaca", cantharides or bezoar stones, up to the first semi-industrial preparations. The latter are on display with an exclusive exhibition of pharmaceutical advertising. In addition, four historical pharmacies, which were rescued and relocated to the museum, are displayed as well as three museum facilities reproducing an alchemist laboratory, an Arabic pharmacy and the pharmacy of the Hospital de San Juan de las Afueras in Toledo.


The Museum was officially opened in 1951 and initially located at the former Faculty of Pharmacy in Madrid. The initiative was led by Rafael Folch Andreu, who had devoted most of his activity to education since 1915, when he was appointed Professor of the History of Pharmacy. Subsequently, he contributed to the enrichment of the museum"s collections. The museum increased the breadth of its collections as a result of the purchase of items financed by surplus funds from internships and other learning practices.

The University City (Ciudad Universitaria) was built under the patronage of Alfonso XIII and contributed to the establishment of the Museum of  the History of Pharmacy. For this purpose, a few facilities were granted and enlarged over the years, which are now the current museum"s location. The museum moved to its current premises in 1944.

The inauguration took place in 1951 and the majority of the collections had already been acquired. Rafael Folch had reached retirement age at that time and his son, William Folch Jou, became head of  the department and was in charge of  the museum until his death in 1985. Since then, the institution has been managed by the Professor of History of Pharmacy, F. Puerto Javier Sarmiento.