The History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca, on display in the old apothecary shop of the city, fits Orhan Pamuk's recommendations for the "museums of the future". It is a small, individual-oriented, atmospheric museum that displays an inter-connected array of topics (history medicine, pharmacy and homeopathy, history of disease, mentalities, commerce with exotic goods, urban development, early marketing strategies, history of poison, apothecary aphrodisiacs, alchemy and chemistry etc.) and provides glimpses into the multi cultural history of Transylvania (in relation to the nationality of the pharmacists and the language of apothecary manuscripts, books, labels and signatures).
|Guess the apothecary ingredients|
The display is "spiced up" with several interactive activities designed both for children and adults. The first is a selection of spices used by ancient apothecaries (cinnamon, anise, cocoa beans and butter, nutmeg, citrus peel etc.) that visitors are invited to smell and guess (list and bilingual - Ro-Engl - info on adjacent poster). The info provides insight into the commerce with and introduction to Transylvania of exotic goods from both the Americas and Asia via the Middle East.
|Across the street - then and now|
The second is more an issue of imagination and comparison, as a century-old photograph on a post card depicting the street and building vis-a-vis the pharmacy is exhibited by the window seat from where one can see the same spot.
|X-ray film by the 1915 Rontgen machine|
The third interactive element is located in the medical equipment room where by the X-ray machines produced in 1915 and 1920 one can inspect radiography films from the twentieth century.