The Croatian Museum of Medicine and Pharmacy - Collections

From the Collection of History of Medicine and Pharmacy to the Croatian Museum of Medicine and Pharmacy

The starting point and foundation of the holdings of the Croatian Museum of Medicine and Pharmacy is the Collection of History of Medicine and Pharmacy owned by the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, i.e. its Division for the History of Medical Sciences. It is stored in the premises of the Division for the History of Medical Sciences of the HAZU in Zagreb, Gundulićeva street 24. The collection contains more than 3000 various objects. The oldest museum exhibits date back to the 16th century.

Museum collections – collecting the objects, expert interpretation and registration

Museum objects are being continually collected through donations of individuals and institutions and by taking them over for management. For example, in the year 2017, the Museum took over a large part of the Otorhinolaryngological Collection of Prof. Dr. Ante Šercer with the associated documentation from the Clinic for ear, throat and nose diseases at the School of Medicine at the University of Zagreb.

During the process of digital photographing and compiling a computer inventory of museum objects, the collections are gradually sorted by types and topics, and the documentation for registration of the collections in the Cultural Heritage Register at the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia is being prepared. Until now, the Collection of Diplomas and Charters and the Collection of Folk Medicine have been entered in the Registry.

Other Museum Collections

The Documentary Collection contains manuscripts, typing, personal documents, transcriptions and copies of documents from the 19th and 20th century related to the education and practice of Croatian doctors and pharmacists or related to the work of medical and pharmaceutical institutions and societies. The collection is in constant development and is complemented by donations.

The Otorhinolaryngological Collection contains a variety of items related to the broad area of otorhinolaryngology: equipment of the medical office, instruments, devices, aids, accessories; collections of foreign bodies extracted from the throat of patients; teaching aids: medical drawings – posters, illustrative materials, three-dimensional models; printing matrices for the preparation of textbooks on otorinolaringology; histological, osteological and pathological preparations and the like. The objects were created in the time range from the 1920s to the end of the 20th century. The largest part of the collection is the legacy of the ORL Clinic in Šalata, and is supplemented by donations, among which the donation of medical instruments, parts of the office equipment and documentary materials from the legacy of academician Ivo Padovan stands out.

The dental collection consists of dental instruments, utensils and appliances, mostly from the 20th century. The collection is complemented by donations, among which the donation of items from the dental clinic of Kallay – Matković family stands out.

The collection of pharmaceutical products packaging and propaganda contains a variety of pharmacy packaging (19th – 20th century) and pharmaceutical products (20th century) and promotional materials – items bearing the names of pharmaceutical companies and products such as drug dosing scales, pencils, pendants, note pads, and the like. The collection is in constant development.

The Collection of photography includes atelier and documentary photography thematically related to medicine and pharmacy, ie doctors and pharmacists. They are mostly black and white. Some of them are plastered on a cardboard, some framed, and the others are arranged in photoalbums. The photographs were taken in the 19th and 20th century. The collection is under development, supplemented by donations.

The Collection of pharmaceutical equipment, furniture and utensils contains a variety of applied and decorative items from Croatian pharmacies, which were created in the period from the 17th to the 20th centuries. The Collection includes a complete set of furniture for the pharmacy, individual pieces of furniture, inscription plates, decorative items, pharmacy scales and weights, mortars and pistils, pharmacy press, home and travel pharmacies, homeopathic pharmacies, laboratory vessels and devices and accessories for making medicines and herbal preparations. The collection has been preserved in the Department of History of Medical Sciences of the HAZU, which has been inherited from the Institute of Pharmacy History, and is supplemented by donations.

The Collection of medical equipment, instruments and aids contains medical devices and parts of devices, medical instrument sets and individual instruments, various medical instruments and tools, and medical supplies. The items were created in the 19th and 20th century. The Collection of the initial nucleus of the collection was collected from the Croatian Medical Association for the exhibition at the Museum of Health Care History in Croatia (1944), and further the collection was supplemented by pieces from Croatian medical institutions and private legacies, which were preserved at the Department of History of Medical Sciences. The collection is in constant development.

The Collection of memorabilia, personal and memorable items includes awards, medals, plaques, badges, pendants, signboards, coats of arms, embroiders, stamps, souvenirs of professional and scientific gatherings in the field of medicine and pharmacy and personal belongings of Croatian physicists and pharmacists from the 19th and 20th centuries. Among other private legacies, the collection includes an interesting collection of personal items from the study room in the private apartment of Hrvoje Tartalja, founder of the Institute of Pharmacy History. The collection was formed through donations.

The Collection of pedagogical and museographic aids includes a variety of items: framed illustrations, collections of drawings and photos with legends, casts, models, moulages, slides, slide show equipment, maps, handwritten legends, display boards, posters and placards that have a historic value as some were used as teaching aids in Croatian higher education in medicine and pharmacy, and others as museographic aids for the exhibition of the Museum of Health Care History in Croatia at the Croatian Medical Association (1944) and on thematic exhibitions during the 20th century. The initial core of the collection was taken over from the Department of the History of Medical Sciences of the HAZU and supplemented by donations.

The Collection of printed materials contains a variety of press covering a broad area of medicine and pharmacy: leaflets, inscriptions, posters, books, brochures and small prints. Larger thematic groups within the collection are prints related to public health, pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry. The objects were created in the time range from the beginning to the end of the 20th century. The collection is in constant development.

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