Jars of "Art and Mystery": Pharmacists and their Tools in the Mid-Nineteenth Century

Jars of “Art and Mystery” will take you on a journey through the history of the apothecary profession from the seventeenth century to the mid-nineteenth, exploring how the role of the apothecary changed over time. You will learn about the nineteenth-century pharmacist and chemist, the tools they used, the drugs they sold, and what ailments they treated. Get a sneak peek inside a pharmacy of the time, and investigate apothecary jars and the remedies they contained. Follow the exhibit through to the end and you’ll have a chance to prove your worth as a pharmacist by taking an apothecary’s exam!

Be sure to click through the links to the right from beginning to end in order to be fully prepared for the quiz.

The apothecary jars and pharmacists' tools featured in this exhibit are from the Apothecary Jar Collection of Rosalind and Elbert McLaury, M.D., and Suzanne and Harold Spear, M.D., held at the Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine. The collection was donated by Suzanne and Harold Spear.


Exhibition curated by Mary Chapman. Mary is a PhD student at the University of Leeds, UK. This exhibition was generously funded by the White Rose College of the Arts and Humanities, UK.