Museum's history

The Association of Pharmacists has high hopes
The Turku Association of Pharmacists was established in 1936, and it soon began to systematically collect pharmacy paraphernalia. A complete pharmacy interior from the 1850s was found and purchased in Oulu. The collection became so vast that in 1938 the association decided to establish a pharmacy museum in Turku. There was no location for the museum, however.

Sahlberg strives to secure the future
Irja Sahlberg, who was a researcher for the Turku Historical Museum, and later its director, studied the architectural history of the building in the 1940s. She concluded that the building’s history reached back to the 17th century and said: “It would be a crime against cultural history to let this valuable house disappear without rescuing at least a part of it for future generations.”

In 1949, the museum committee (Museolautakunta) made a proposal to the City Board for the preservation of the building. However, the City needed the offices located on the premises for its various operations. The building housed the poor relief and child welfare offices, for example.

High hopes meet the future
The child welfare office was relocated in 1956, and the fate of the Qwensel House was discussed again. It was decided that the building would be preserved and kept in the same location. The City assigned three rooms in the Qwensel House for the use of the Turku Historical Museum. The interests of the pharmacists and the museum met. The rooms were converted into the museum pharmacy.

Because most of the collected items were from the 19th century, it was decided that the museum was to showcase that era. During restoration, however, it was discovered that even older interior details had remained in the house, such as original 18th century tapestries. This led to rooms in the main building being restored to an even older period.

The Pharmacy Museum opened to the public on 2 June 1958. In 1978 the city granted the museum use of all the buildings in the Qwensel House.

The Pharmacy Museum and the Qwensel House today!
The museum tour starts in the introductory exhibition, which you can browse both before and after the tour. Lighting has been improved in all areas of the museum and more focus has been placed on accessibility. You can tour the museum with the help of a guide, guide book, audio guide or map.

The cloakroom and bathrooms are located near ticket sales.

The courtyard is an almost unchanged slice of Turku from a few hundred years ago. Cafe Qwensel, and the Children’s Pharmacy in the summer, are open to visitors during museum opening hours.

In the summer and during the Christmas holiday season, the museum organises guided tours and events, which are specified in more detail in the events calendar.