Museum Services

We offer an number of services based on the information and objects we hold.

Object loan service

Do you want to display some real pharmacy history in your shop, office, school or museum?  Our ‘flying boxes’ may be the answer.

These two attractive display cases contain an interesting range of traditional pharmacy equipment and medicines from the 19th and early 20th centuries. 

The display cases have been designed and built for travelling and are available on loan for temporary exhibition in a variety of locations.

Since the service was launched, they have been used with great success in retail premises and health centres, in schools, as part of hospital open days, and in both medical and general interest museums and libraries.  

We usually lend each ‘flying box’ out for a month’s loan period.  We ask for a small fee to cover hire, and the borrower has to sign a loan agreement and arrange transport to and from our headquarters. 

Please note: the Museum is unable to lend individual items from its collections except to other museums or similar institutions, as objects from its core collections need to be maintained in secure environmentally-controlled conditions.

Image reproduction and supply service

The Society's Museum holds a photo archive of some 7,000 images reflecting the personalities, premises and work of the Society over 175 years and the broader history of British pharmacy.

A useful introduction to the archive is given in Pharmacy History: A Pictorial Record, published by Pharmaceutical Press in 1989 and available from the Museum.

In addition to its historical photographic archive, the Museum maintains a useful and growing library of photographic images showing a representative selection from its collections of objects. As well as images of medicines, dispensing, storage and display equipment, the majority of the Museum’s fine collections of medical caricatures, mortars and early drug jars have been systematically photographed.

A large selection from the Museum’s caricature collection is available to buy online on the Memoryprints website.

Digital images

A growing number of images are available in digital formats. For images to illustrate talks and presentations, you may be interested in our Pictures of Pharmacy Past CD which has been designed for use in educational presentations and contains 30 historical pharmacy images from the Museum’s collections – some dating back over 500 years.

New photography

In cases where the Museum does not hold an existing photograph that you have requested, we can usually arrange for the image or object to be professionally photographed. The costs of this will normally be borne by the client. 

Reproduction of images

Subject to the Keeper’s discretion and copyright law, the Museum can usually grant permission for the reproduction of images from the Museum’s collection.

The Museum does not charge a fee for reproducing an image for private study, academic research, personal use or other educational or non-commercial purpose. For commercial use, a reproduction fee must be paid in advance.

Please note:

  • The purchase or hire of an image does not convey any reproduction rights.
  • No copyright in any image shall pass to the client either with the sale or hire of a copy or with the Museum’s grant of reproduction right.

Photography and filming of Museum objects

  • Visitors are encouraged to enjoy non-flash photography of the Museum displays for personal use.
  • Individuals or companies wishing to undertake other on-site photography or filming should contact the Keeper. A facility fee is charged.

Family history research service

Our Museum offers a prepaid research service to family historians and others seeking to trace the careers of individuals or the history of pharmacy premises.

The Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain was founded in 1841. From 1868 it was compulsory for all individuals in the business of compounding and dispensing medicines and selling scheduled poisons to register with the Society.
The Registers of Pharmaceutical Chemists and Chemists and Druggists were published annually from 1869-2010. The Society also published The List of Members, Associates and Apprentices from 1841-1868 and The Register of Premises annually from 1936-2010.

The Museum and Library have a complete run of these registers, alongside a number of other resources, which help our research.

All clients are supplied with a free copy of the Museum’s information sheet ‘Tracing people and premises in pharmacy’, which explains the sources available and lists other possible research centres.

Our research fees

The Museum charges a basic search fee to non-Society members of £35 (RPS members £20) for each person or premises researched. 

Please note: that we receive a very high volume of enquiries for this service.  We respond in strict order according to when we have received your enquiry.  We will acknowledge receipt of your request but, at our busiest periods it can take up to two months to provide the full research results.

Alternatively researchers are welcomed to undertake their own research in our Library, but should pre-book to ensure that Museum or Library staff are available to provide an introduction to the available sources.

All clients are supplied with a free copy of the Museum’s information sheet ‘Tracing people and premises in pharmacy’, which explains the sources available and lists other possible research centres.

Object Access

We welcome requests to look at our stored collections. If you would like to see any objects in the Museum's collections, please contact us to make an appointment. 

Please note that the majority of our collections are stored off-site, so we would appreciate as much notice as possible in order to make the necessary arrangements to make the items accessible.

For more information or to enquire about using/obtaining any of our services, contact us on: