The Museum contains a complete reconstruction of an 18th-century pharmacy. It has been created using furniture from old monastery pharmacies and various oddities hang on the walls and the ceiling, e.g., a tortoise shell, a dried crocodile, a snake and the rostrum of a sawfish. On its five floors (from the cellar to the attic), the museum reveals the secrets of a pharmacist's profession. There is a reconstructed pharmaceutical laboratory in which visitors can observe the operation of distillation apparatuses as well as learn the methods of preparing healing mixtures and the techniques of storing the substances used to produce them.
The Museum also allows visitors to discover the secret uses of bezoar and the horn of a unicorn, which were used for many centuries as antidotes for all poisons. One can also see a prototype of the first kerosene lamp worldwide constructed by Ignacy Łukasiewicz, a pharmacist and the creator of the Polish petroleum industry.

Elaborated by Julia Czapla, Joanna Kotarba,
Licencja Creative Commons

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

Photograph by Marek Antoniusz Święch, arch. MIK (2012),
Licencja Creative Commons

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.

ul. Floriańska 25,
31-019 Kraków

phone 12 421 92 79
Fax 12 422 42 84
page museum

Opening hours

12.00 — 18.30
Wednesday  — Saturday
9.30 — 15.00

Ticket Prices

normal 14 PLN reduced 8 PLN family ticket 30 PLN normal – group ticket with guide 20 PLN reduced – group ticket with guide 12 PLN

Wooden apothecary boxes from 18th century

The wooden apothecary boxes come from the 2nd half of the 18th century. The vessels are made of linden wood and covered with red polychrome. On the bellies, in oval Rococo cartouches decorated with gold ornaments there are names of the materials they were to contain.

Apothecary vessel

The vessel comes from the 2nd half of the 18th century and is made of colourless glass. There is a little white lettering piece on it with a signature in two-coloured majuscule: ESS. THERIACALIS (Essentia theriacalis) syn. Tinctura theriacalis. The medicine contained, among others, theriac.

Sister Konstancja Studzińska’s master’s degree diploma

Konstancja Studzińska (1787–1853) was the first woman in Europe to complete a master’s degree — she majored in pharmacy. The fact that a woman completed pharmaceutical studies in the 1st half of the 19th century, when women had no possibility to study, must be recognised as exceptional. At the time, Konstancja Studzińska worked in a pharmacy run by nuns at St. Lazarus hospital in Kraków.


Alembic (Latin: alembicum) is a part of the apparatus required for distillation (distillation from Latin: distillare—drip, fall by drops). It consists of three separate parts: a boiler in which substances for distillation are placed, a helmet covering the boiler, and a cooler that connects the boiler to the receiver; namely, the place where the liquefied (distilled) liquid flows down.

Majolica apothecary vessel

The maiolica pharmacy jug is decorated with an orange, blue, and green plant ornament. It is worth noting the unusual handle – parallel (not perpendicular) to the jug’s body – thanks to which it was possible to lift and carry such a large and heavy vessel using a lowered hand. Under the handle, there is a mascaron head, resembling that of a lion.

Faience apothecary vessel

This is a faience pharmacy vessel with two handles in the shape of mutton heads. On the shard, there is a black italic shelf mark – Syrupus opiatus – water with a sugary, poppy syrup. The preparation was obtained by dissolving poppy extract – opium (Extractum Opii) – in an appropriate amount of concentrated sugar solution.

Apothecary majolica vessel — “albarello”

This is a Maiolica pharmacy albarello vessel, elliptically concave, created in Faenza (Italy) in the mid-sixteenth century. It has blue, green, yellow, and orange figural and plant decoration; its human figure is a herbalist with a headscarf for herbs on her back. The inscription on the banderole reads: Aloe patico.


A percolator is a device used to extract raw vegetable materials by the method of continuous, slow flow of a solvent through the raw material layer. This method is called percolation (from the Latin percolo, flow) or, less often, displacement. Due to this, extracts that are much richer in active substances than obtained by simple maceration (soaking) are produced.

Renaissance apothecary mortar from 1562

In pharmacies, mortars were used to crush a variety of substances and to make certain forms of prescription drugs, such as: emulsions, ointments and powders. The presented mortar comes from 1562. It has a conical shape and is made of bronze. Its decoration is a plant motif – acanthus leaves – with the year 1562 placed among them. An additional ornament...

Renaissance apothecary mortar

Mortars were placed in pharmacies on various pedestals usually made of hardwood, and, more rarely, from stone. For beautifully decorated mortars, which, in addition to practical use, were the decoration of the interior of a pharmacy, wooden pedestals in the shape...

Repository for different part of herbs

The presented repository, which comes from a hospital pharmacy, was used to store herbs. The names of medicinal raw materials are placed on the drawers equipped with iron baroque handles: “HB. HEDER” – common ivy (Hedera helix L.), “HB. HYOSCIAMI” – black henbane...

Tenaculum — stand for apothecary scales

This tripod, the so-called tenaculum, on which small hand weights were hung, comes from the hospital monastery pharmacy of the Brothers of Mercy in Pilchowice. The pharmacy was opened in 1819, and the tripod, as shown in the inscriptions placed on it, was funded for the pharmacy in 1820.

Pharmacy mortar from 1615

The mortar is decorated with a flat relief cartouche, on which there is a house mark and the monogram JR, belonging to Jan Radziwin, a doctor of medicine and philosophy, the owner of the pharmacy on the Warsaw Old Town Square. On the cartouche frieze, there is an inscription in capital letters: ANNO DOMINI...

Stained glass door a mortar surrounded by medicinal plants

The stained-glass window comes from one of the Wrocław pharmacies, for which it was made around 1900, by the workshop of stained-glass windows that belonged to Adolf Seiler in Wrocław. In the centre of the stained-glass window, there is a pharmacy mortar, around which medicinal plants are placed: aconite (Aconitum L.), belladonna (Atropa belladonna L.), opium poppy (Papaver somniferum L.), and purple foxglove (Digitalis purpurea L.).

Table apothecary scales

The presented neo-Baroque scales belong to a type of pan scales. For centuries, scales have been the basic tool for working in a pharmacy, related to the preparation and dosage of medicines. The unification of pharmaceutical measures formally took place in 1555, when the Municipal Council of Nuremberg announced...

Pharmaceutical tablet maker machine

A hand-held tablet press was used in a pharmacy for the production of tablets obtained by compressing a powdered drug substance using a piston. The presented object comes from the beginning of the 20th century. This tablet press was produced in the Austrian company Kahnemann-Krause-Vienna...

Pharmaceutical pill maker

A pill maker is a device used to make pills (pilulae from Latin pila — ball, pellet), one of the oldest kinds of medicine. The presented exhibit of Eugen Dieterich’s construction (2nd half of the 19th century) consists of a wooden base and a movable slat. On both elements...

Two apothecary vessels

Vessels in the form of a monstrance for storing medicinal oils come from the convent pharmacy of Brothers Hospitallers of St. John of God in Cieszyn. The pharmacy began its functioning in the 1690s. At the time, the monastery in Cieszyn was founded, together with a hospital and a pharmacy run by monks. The vessels are decorated with white Rococo cartouches with gold borders. Inside the cartouches there are apothecary inscriptions in two-coloured majuscule: Ol. Cinnamomi — cinnamon oil — on one of the jars, and Ol. Macis — nutmeg oil — on the other.

Pill gilding box

The round wooden box presented here was used in a pharmacy for silvering and gilding pills. In this way, their unpleasant taste was made more palatable and they were protected against drying and spoiling. The method of gilding pills may be found in Heinrich and Fabian’s Farmacya (Warsaw, 1835): “Pills, hard, dry and cleaned from powder are put on a pill rolling disc, moistened with a few drops of gum arabic or a regular syrup and, by spinning them a few times, they are covered with the liquid.

“Hydria” apothecary vase

A hydria type apothecary vase. Majolica. Savona (Italy). The 2nd half of the 17th century. Handles in the shape of (fantastic) animal heads on massive bent necks. In the front, at the bottom, there is a relief of a gargoyle. In its mouth there is an opening to pour out the content of the vase, plugged with a standard cork. There are smaller gargoyles without openings on the sides of the vessel, under the handles.