The Pharmacy Museum in Mauthausen
The Mauthausen museum in Austria is small, maintained by a local historical association and opened during limited hours. But it is well worth the effort! The history of pharmacy collection, created mainly around the objects of an old local pharmacy that functioned until the contemporary period, is very well structured, thorough, and very well informed. The display dates to the 1970s but is still up to date – the panels are very clear, the artifacts are grouped according to materials, topics, and purpose (laboratory apparatuses grouped according to specific pharmaceutic production processes), the explanations contain contemporary elements that visitors can easily related to (the ingredients in Coca Cola, for example), and especially with interactive elements. We were delighted by the cupboard with tiny doors for apothecary curiosities (materia medica and containers). Visitors can open these doors to discover the contents; in other areas they can pull our drawers with documents and photographs, or they can browse through laminated replicas of old books and manuscripts. The explanations are in German, but one can use the excellent English audioguide (with fragments from an interview with the pharmacists who donated the artifacts and structured the exhibition). In the end one can take a break and gaze through the window, as the Danube flows across the road the runs by Pragstein Castle.