The museum is located in the building of the first state-owned pharmacy in the Vladimir province, which appeared in 1805 by the order of the governor, Prince Ivan Mikhailovich Dolgoruky. In March 1804, his wife Evgenia Sergeevna was diagnosed with consumption and in May she died, perhaps this event was one of the reasons for the opening of a state-owned pharmacy in the city. And also at this time there were no state-owned pharmacies in the city, they had to go to Moscow for medicines. The pharmacy was free, drug prices were not regulated, and they were often expired.
The building itself, in which the pharmacy is located, was built at the end of the 18th century; it was the outbuilding of the governor’s house. The building was wooden, but it was rebuilt in the middle of the 19th century. The first floor was made of bricks, while the second remained wooden. The main entrance to the pharmacy is decorated with a massive apse with 2 semi-columns highlighted. On the east side there is an open terrace with a beautiful view of the Assumption Cathedral. In 1980, under the leadership of I.A. Stoletov, a large-scale restoration of the building and the street adjacent to it was carried out.
The cobblestone pavement was restored, old lanterns were installed, which gave this corner of Vladimir a look close to the 19th century: “Night. Street. Lantern. Pharmacy”, as Alexander Blok wrote.
The Museum Old Pharmacy has the atmosphere of a 19th century pharmaceutical establishment.
The main hall is equipped with racks with drawers and cupboards as it was at that time. A very interesting showcase with authentic items of pharmacy, starting from its origin in Russia.
The first information about the first pharmacy in Russia dates back to 1581, during the reign of Ivan the Terrible. The Tsar’s court pharmacy was located on the territory of the Moscow Kremlin in a stone building opposite the Chudovy Monastery. This pharmacy served only the royal family. For all other townspeople, medicines were sold in grocery stores. For the common people, the first pharmacy was opened in 1672.
The stands showcases samples of pharmaceutical bottles, antique bottles, which were specially made to emphasize the exclusivity of the products. There are many 19th century medical books and brochures. Several exhibits from the life of zemstvo doctors. There is also an old ticket office in the museum.
The first official pharmacist in Vladimir was Christopher Kalkau, who arrived from Moscow.
A contract was signed with him for 4 years with an annual salary of 1000 rubles.
The pharmacist made medicines according to the prescriptions prescribed by the doctor, and when he sold them, he wrote them down in the prescription book issued from the pharmacy office with a cord and a seal. Magnesia, smoking powders, perfume, Ungar vodka, chamomile and elderberry flowers, etc. were sold without a prescription. All this was also recorded, but in a different pharmacy book. Every 3 months the pharmacist provided the order with the prescription book and the proceeds. He did not have the right to independently prescribe medicines to patients and sell them to midwives and healers.
The pharmacist’s office was interestingly decorated, in which he received significant people a massive table, a cage with a live canary, an umbrella and a suitcase hang on the wall. All things are genuine. The interiors of the museum are designed in the style of a rich house. On the ceiling there are painted plafonds and a massive chandelier. The furniture here is expensive, antique, from Europe, mirrors of an unusual shape. Many things are collectible.
At the pharmacy down the slope a botanical garden was laid out, where medicinal herbs were grown.
The museum has a catalog of medicines from 1809. It says that they were treated with wormwood, spruce cones, garlic, honey, tobacco, cherries, etc.
There is an interesting fact connected with the 1964 film “The Marriage of Balzaminov”. The film was shot in Vladimir and Suzdal. There is a shot in the film that includes an old Vladimir pharmacy.
In the museum “Old Pharmacy” you can taste herbal teas, herbal infusions and test healing natural cosmetics.