New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

This post is designed to help visitors plan a trip to the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, including tickets, discounts, the best times to visit and what to expect while you’re here.

 

 


PLAN YOUR VISIT

The following section will prepare you for a trip to the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, including how to find the museum, the best times to visit, and what to expect.

How to Find the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Due to its central location in the French Quarter, many people will choose to just walk here. Regardless of your mode of transportation, use this map for specific directions.

The Pharmacy Museum is a stop on our guided tour of the French Quarter as well as our audio tour and our self-guided tour.

 

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Directions to the Pharmacy Museum New Orleans

 

If you plan on using a hop-on-hop-off bus service, you’ll find a nearby stop at Jackson Square, just a few blocks from this historic location. 

Visitors who want to use the streetcar should consider taking the #2 (Riverfront Line) and stopping at Toulouse Station.

You can also take the Canal Street or Cemetery Lines and exit at the Canal and Chartres stop.


Best Times to Visit

Not only are their hours fairly short, but this location is only open five days a week.

New Orleans Pharmacy Museum Hours

  • Tuesday – Saturday
  • 10 am – 4 pm

 

 

Although most people who visit this historic site do not report that there are heavy crowds, some reviews indicate that this location can get pretty packed.

Due to the dimensions of the museum, even a small group of people can make it difficult to see everything. 

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is typically at its busiest from 11 am – 2 pm. If you want to avoid the crowds, consider making your trip either early between 10 am – 11:30 am or later from 2 pm – 4 pm

 

 

Unlike other attractions in the area, this location doesn’t get any busier during weekends or on specific days.

As a result, you can expect these hours to be the best time to visit no matter when you come.

One of the reasons that this museum gets busy during the middle of the day is that they offer a free guided tour at 1 pm on Tuesday – Friday.

Many visitors recommend taking the tour to get the most out of your experience. For more details, check our ticket information section. 


What to Expect

Despite the size of the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum, it’s very highly rated and most people who visit are impressed.

This building is actually the home of the first licensed pharmacy in the United States. When you walk inside, you’ll immediately get the sense that you have gone back in time. 

The eerie atmosphere of such an old pharmacy filled with now outdated forms of medicine leaves a lot of visitors feeling a little creeped out.

Make sure to visit our museum history section for more historical information.

Rumor has it that the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is actually haunted. Although nothing has been confirmed, believers may want to consider a visit simply to see if they can spot any supernatural happenings.

Alternatively, you may also want to consider one of our ghost tours!

You can also expect to find several exhibits and artifacts in this museum which date back to the 1800s.

The story of early medicinal development in the United States is sure to interest audiences of all ages. Even children will find something of interest in attractions such as the soda fountains. 

Despite the size of this museum, guests typically report spending at least 1 hour inside. Some visitors stay for 2 hours or more, but you should probably set aside at least 1 ½ hours for this activity. 

 


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TICKET INFORMATION 

Admission to the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is very affordable. A family of four (2 Adults + 2 Kids) could pay as little as $10 to get in, and there is a lot to see inside. 


If you’re planning to get a tourist pass, then know that the museum is included with the New Orleans Pass. This discount card will also provide access to several nearby locations like the Cabildo and the Presbytere.

For more information, check our post on New Orleans attraction passes


Pharmacy Museum Ticket Prices

  • $5/Adults | $4/Students & Seniors
  • Children under 6 are free
  • A free tour included at 1 pm Tue-Fri

Tickets can be purchased on-site when you arrive. 

 


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EXHIBIT DETAILS

Although there are a lot of historic artifacts on display at this museum, they do their best to keep things looking like an actual pharmacy.

As a result, you’ll find a lot of areas that highlight specific moments in the history of medicine. 


Voodoo Potions

Voodoo Potion

New Orleans has a unique history of alternative medicines, and the New Orleans Pharmacy has some of them on display.

While a lot of people didn’t trust these potions, there were times when treatments prescribed by a Voodoo priestess were actually far more effective (and based in legitimate herbal medicine) than anything offered by European Americans.

Anyone interested in this subject may also want to visit the nearby Voodoo museum or take our Voodoo tour.


Perfumes and Cosmetics

Perfume

Some of the ingredients that they used for these goods may be questionable to modern audiences, but you’d be surprised how many elements remain in most perfumes and cosmetics to this very day.

Medicines intended for women also typically had some kind of alcohol or narcotics in them. In many cases, these treatments would probably land you in jail today!


Soda Fountain 

Can you believe that the fizzy drinks we give to our kids today were once thought to have medicinal value? Originally, bitter medicines would be mixed with sweet drinks in order to make them more appealing to customers.

This is one of the reasons why Coca-Cola once contained ingredients from the coca plant – commonly known today as the source of Cocaine. That ingredient was removed in 1903.


Surgical Instruments

They may look incredibly out of date, but a lot of the utensils doctors use today were actually influenced by some of the tools you’ll see in this museum.

That being said, practices have definitely changed since then, as it was once common to avoid a doctor who didn’t have well-used surgical instruments.


Spectacles Collection

If you think the glasses we wear today look odd, make sure to stop by the collection of spectacles on the second floor. This exhibit includes a variety of glasses used to help the visually impaired.

While some styles and concepts are still used to this day, many of them have changed over time. 

 


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NEARBY ATTRACTIONS

The New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is found in the heart of the French Quarter, just a few blocks from some of the more notable historic sites in this city.

This section will provide a few different ideas for landmarks and attractions you might want to visit while you’re in the area.

The Pharmacy Museum is a stop on our guided tour of the French Quarter as well as our audio tour and our self-guided tour.


Jackson Square

Many people consider this a hub of activity in New Orleans. In addition to hosting special events, this park also has a history stretching back to the 1800s, when Andrew Jackson himself was on hand for the ceremony in which the memorial at the center was officially placed.

If you want to learn more about this location, make sure to read our full post on Jackson Square.


St. Louis Cathedral

You’ll find this historic site just north of Jackson Square. This church was actually built before the monument to Andrew Jackson, and it is considered one of the oldest Catholic cathedrals in the United States.

Self-guided tours are available for $1, but you can also attend mass for free.

If you’re looking for more details, check out our post about St. Louis Cathedral.


The Cabildo

This historic building is on the left side of the St. Louis Cathedral. Although it is now a museum, this was once the location where the Louisiana Purchase was signed in 1803.

Several decades later, this would also become the site where the Supreme Court would make the landmark case of Plessy v Ferguson.

There are a lot of things to see and do inside, and you can learn more about the exhibits and the history behind them by reading our post about the Cabildo.


The Presbytère

Found on the opposite side of the St. Louis Cathedral, this building was designed to mirror the architectural style of the Cabildo.

Today, the Presbytère is used as a museum which houses several important and educational exhibits. Some of their most popular exhibitions focus on the history of Mardi Gras and Hurricane Katrina.

For more details, make sure to read our post about the Presbytère.


Cafe du Monde

If you’re getting hungry, thirsty or tired from a long day in the French Quarter, this historic cafe is one place you simply must visit.

Their menu is all about tradition, so you’ll find only two types of coffee available and one food item – beignets. These delicious pastries are essentially doughnuts covered with powdered sugar, and they are one of the most popular treats in New Orleans.

For more details, visit our post about Cafe du Monde.


The French Market

This historic marketplace stretches across approximately six blocks of the French Quarter, starting at Cafe du Monde and ending at the Old U.S. Mint.

In addition to all of the storefronts you can visit, there are also notable attractions such as Dutch Alley and the golden Joan of Arc statue.

You’ll often find performing artists in the area putting on a show for the shoppers, making this a great place to take a stroll.

If you want to know more, consider taking our self-guided tour of the French Market or simply reading more about it on our French Market post.


New Orleans Jazz Museum

Visitors who love Jazz may want to take a moment to visit this museum. Not only does it house several notable artifacts from musicians such as Louis Armstrong, but it’s also located inside the Old U.S. Mint.

Every Tuesday, visitors are welcome to enjoy a free live jazz show on the third floor. Tickets are very affordable and the museum rarely ever gets very crowded.

For additional information, read our post about the New Orleans Jazz Museum.

 


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MUSEUM HISTORY

The great thing about museums in New Orleans is that they are usually found in historic buildings.

In this case, the building where you will find the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum has the distinction of being one of the first legitimate pharmacies in the country.

Rather than transforming an old landmark into something different, they decided to turn the old shop into a museum using many artifacts from the site itself.

This old pharmacy first opened up in 1823, and there are still old bottles and medicines from the 1800s housed at this location.

Louis Dufilho Jr was the original owner of this pharmacy, and he was also the first licensed pharmacist in the United States. He and his family lived on-site in the apartment on the 2nd floor until 1855, when the pharmacy would be sold to a man named Dr. Joseph Dupas.

Those who believe in the paranormal may be interested to learn that some say the ghost of Dr. Dupas still roams around the old museum.

Although this obviously can’t be confirmed, visitors have indicated that they have seen an old man wearing a brown suit and top hat that wouldn’t be unlike the kind of clothing worn by the doctor while he was alive.

If you want to learn more about the potential haunted history of this location, consider taking a ghost tour in the French Quarter.

Visit their website for more information.

 


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About the author

Manager | New Orleans

Sarah first moved to New Orleans in 2001 to work for the American Red Cross of Southeast Louisiana. While working in the communities of New Orleans she fell in love with the unique culture of the Big Easy; it's food, music, architecture, wildlife, and most of all history.

Sarah began her career with FTBF, first as a guide, then as an owner/operator. She believes every day is a good day if she gets to impart her love of her beloved New Orleans with Free Tours By Foot guests. She especially likes to convert new Who Dat Saints Fans!