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The Collection

The Pharmacy Museum dates from an era when collections of tangible objects were still a key component of scientific education and research. The museum originated as the private collection of the pharmacist and lecturer in practical pharmacy and the history of pharmacy, Josef Anton Häfliger (1873–1954). In 1925 he donated his collection of ancient apothecaries’ vessels, obsolete medications, formulas, woodcuts, illustrations and books to the university. The principal of the Institute of Pharmacy, founded in 1917, Prof. Heinrich Zörnig, provided several rooms to house the collection. The installation of the collection in the Institute of Pharmacy enabled Häfliger to introduce his students to the historical evolution of practical pharmacy. The objects served as teaching material for imparting the history of pharmacy and the procedures once used in pharmaceutical production. The collection originated with a direct connection to the historical developments in pharmaceutical practice. Because the whole field of pharmacy was undergoing a period of profound change in the first half of the 20th century – ranging from the research carried out through to the production and sale of medicinal products.