Old Kuopio Museum’s pharmacy museum is situated in this building. The building was built at the turn of the 19th century, and is one of the oldest buildings in Kuopio. Originally it was built to be a residential building but throughout its history it has hosted a pharmacy, a general store, and an ammunition store, among other things. The house was transferred to the museum block from Minna Canthinkatu 14 in 1987. As a pharmacy museum, it was opened to the public in 1992.
The pharmacy inspection inventories and fire insurance policies have been the informational foundation for the pharmacy interior. The building and the collected pharmacy objects have given the framework to work with. The objects have been gathered from several pharmacies. The museum reflects rather loosely pharmacies of the early 20th century. The pharmacies of that time often still had quite a lot of the late 19th century characteristics, particularly in the fixed interiors.
The shop’s counter and cash register come from a pharmacy in Lapinlahti, 60 km north of Kuopio. The register was manufactured in 1911, and used until 1949. The sign attached to the counter says, ”Do not spit on the floor”. The sign was necessary for the sake of hygiene both in the pharmacies and in many other public premises. There is a spittoon in the corner of the room for spitting. The pharmacy’s emblem – in this case an eagle owl – comes from the New Pharmacy of Kuopio. The clock made by Junghans is from the beginning of the 20th century. On the counter and on the shelves, there are all kinds of pharmacy goods, particularly various medicine and material gallipots and bottles.
The pharmacy’s laboratory is in the corner room. During the first few decades of the 20th century, nearly all of the medicaments were prepared in the pharmacies. Only the medicinal substances required for preparation of some medicines were acquired elsewhere. Some of the objects are on display in incomplete condition since the last hundred years have treated the most used items in a rather harsh manner.
The laboratory equipment was used in preparing ointments, drug infusions and other forms of medication and packaging them. For example, labels were printed for pharmacy bottles. For ensuring fire safety, some fire-fighting equipment had to be at hand also in pharmacies. In Kuopio, the required fire equipment for each property has been defined at least as early as in 1807. For example during the first decades of the 20th century every property had to have at least one portable hose, one water tub with a bar for carrying it, two buckets made out of metal, leather or fabric, one iron bar and a stable ladder for each building. The equipment had to be marked with the number of the house and the block in question, and also the number of the town’s sector.
On the floor, there is a leathery, red fire bucket and a simple fire hose. The fire buckets for transporting water were usually still made out of leather at the beginning of the 20th century. They were not suitable for storing water. Instead, the extinguishing water was stored in other containers. The fire hose on display is a typical example of firefighting equipment in the early 20th century. A fire broom which was to be soaked in water was also a general piece of fire extinguishing equipment before the manually operated fire hoses.
In the storeroom, a pharmacist kept the equipment that was used less often. There are among other things container barrels for liquids, pharmacy bottles and some working equipment, for example different kinds of dispensing scales.
Room 1103/Pharmacist’s room
The door to the pharmacist’s room is exceptionally in front of the counter. A more typical solution was that the entrance was behind the counter. That way the pharmacist was able to go to his room more easily.
The room’s furnishing includes, for example, an oak desk, a shelving, a wall shelf with two levels and two armchairs, which are upholstered with leather. On the desk, there is a telephone, a typewriter and a stand for notes. The clock dates from 1855.
The pharmacist’s reference library includes pharmaceutical literature from the end of the 19th and from the beginning of the 20th centuries. Of the literature, especially the Pharmacopoeia were of great importance. When Finland was a part of Sweden, the Swedish Pharmacopoeia were used. A Finnish edition was needed only after Finland became a part of Russia in 1809. The first Finnish edition was printed in 1819. In the beginning of the 20th century the fourth Pharmacopoeia from the 1880’s and the fifth one from the 1910’s, would have been used. They are on display. The wooden container gallipots in the room’s cupboard date back to the 18th century. In Finland, only a few of them have been preserved. In the cupboard, there is also a mechanical calculator.
Rooms 1104, 1107 and 1108/Exhibition area
These rooms contain two exhibitions. The photograph exhibition portrays the history of pharmacies. The emphasis is on the pharmacies of Kuopio but other old pharmacies in Northern Savo are also included. The second exhibition examines Finnish folk medicine and use of medicinal plants.