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Museums | In Lithuania | Search by Region | Kaunas | Museum of the History of Lithuania Medicine and Pharmacy

Museum of the History of Lithuania Medicine and Pharmacy

Address: Rotušės a. 28, LT-44279, Kaunas.
Tel. (+370 ~ 37) 20 15 69.
Director – Tauras Mekas.

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Saturday 10–17.

adults – 4 Lt (1,16 €);
pupils and students – 2 Lt (0,58 €).

Guided tour:
charge – 25 Lt (7,24 €).

The Museum's collection is made up of Lithuanian hospital and pharmacy establishments, medical implements, documents, personal items of doctors and pharmacists.


Pharmacy history exposition
There one could enjoy the scenes of pre-history of medicine and pharmacy – watching exhibition stands arranged with great inventiveness and authenticity and showing a shaman curing a baby (some Lithuanian exiles witnessed such a scene in Siberian taiga only some 40 years ago) as well as a Lithuanian sorceress.

Officinas have been used as reception rooms for customers and sales-rooms for those who had wanted to buy anything without a doctor's prescription. The furniture you can see in this officina was manufactured in the beginning of the 20th century and it was brought here from the drug store situated in Kauno Street, Vilnius. The shelves of this room are full of old drugs and other medical accessories. Some of them are really thrilling, e. g. tincture of Venus' hair recommended to women as an elixir of youth and beauty, balsam of men's strength or mysterious powder that was used in the Middle Ages for epilepsy treating and called "Caput Mortum" which actually means dried and grinded heads of dead people…

(Lat. Coquere – to produce, cook, dry) used to be one of the main premises in a chemist's shop because here pharmacists used to produce infusions and decoctions, to wash and dry dishes, to distil water. Very often a desk of the owner of a shop used to be arranged here. The equipment exhibited in this room was used at Lithuanian town and village drug-stories in the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century.

Materialia means a pharmacy room where stores are kept. All larger drug stores used to be equipped by a locked storeroom for keeping reserves of various raw materials including poisonous and violently acting stuff.

The laboratory produced not only patent medicines, but also other products (aromatic waters, oils, tablets etc.), which were supplied to smaller pharmacies. The museum exhibits a steam galenical production line and hydraulic press used by the pharmacy laboratory of the Kaunas Red Cross Hospital. Other devices (tablet making machine etc.), in 1922-1950, were used by the chemical-pharmaceutical laboratory “Sanitas”.  

You just can't miss a cellar typical to those possessed by all old drug-stores and used for keeping materials that needed lower temperature (oils, fat) and performing some technological operations, i. e. crushing and pulverising raw materials as well as for ointment and liniment production.

Medicine history exposition
The exposition introduces visitors to Lithuania’s medicine in 1918-1940, to history of higher medical sciences in Kaunas. The museum exhibits fragments of consulting rooms of famous Lithuanian interwar period doctors, such as, surgeon dr. V. Kuzma, ear-nose-throat doctor J. Alekna, dentist S. Prapuolenytė-Čerkeliūnienė, eye doctor V. Janulaitytė-Alseikienė, gynaecologist B. Simonanienė, radiologist S. Laurinavičius.

Other expositions

  • Development of medicine in Lithuania until 18th century. Instruments and documentary material reflecting the activities of shavers-surgeons and first medical doctors are exhibited here. A fragment of a szpital — predecessor of a current hospital was also rebuilt.

  • Collection of medicinal materials (materia medica). Dishes with raw materials from the museum established by J. Mušinskis, which functioned during the period of 1921—1939 in Vilnius Stefan Batory University.

  • Exposition of Siberian folk medicine. Shamanic items of the Nenets people are exhibited.

  • Fragments of Lithuanian folk medicine.

Exhibits are set up in exclusive circumstances – commemorating eminent doctors' and pharmacists' jubilees also anniversaries.

Educational activity
The museum is a training base for the Lithuanian University of Health Sciences. Here lessons on the history of medicine and pharmacy and workshops take place.

History of the Museum
In 1936, upon joint efforts of the Lithuanian Pharmacists Association and the Lithuanian Union of Pharmacists, the Lithuanian Pharmacy Museum was started to create.
Since 1937, the Lithuanian Pharmacists Association in Kaunas rented separate premises where the exposition “Pharmacy Museum of Old Lithuania” was open to visitors.
Since 1957, this work was continued by the Kaunas Medical Institute (KMI) professor A. Kaikaris (1922-1997), in whose hands fell a small remained part of the pre-war collection.    In 1973, KMI Faculty of Pharmacy opened the first exhibition “Museum Pharmaceuticum Lithuaniae”.
In 1975, the Museum of Pharmacy History was allocated separate room in the Central Building of KMI (Mickevičiaus St. 9), where the exposition “Pharmacy of the 19th century’s Lithuanian City” was held.
Exhibits of medical history were started to collect in 1945 by the Professor of Department of Pathology.
Since 1957, the Assistant V. Siudikas joined his professor. Upon his initiative, the Museum of the History of Kaunas Medical Institute was set up.
In 1977, the exposition created by doc. V. Siudikas was called “Museum of the History of Medicine”.
In 1985, the Lithuanian Pharmacy Museum and the Museum of the History of Medicine was merged into one entity — the Museum of the History of Lithuanian Medicine and Pharmacy.
Since 1987, the museum runs its activities in the restored house of the 16th century located at Rotušės Av. 28.
Museum's Establisher – Kaunas Medical University. 

Photos by R. Minevičius, R. Požerskis 

© Lithuanian Art Museum, © Association of Lithuanian Museums. ISSN 1648-8857 Page updated 13.12.2016
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