The Strangest Things You’ll See at the Pharmacy Museum in Tucson

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The University of Arizona’s History of Pharmacy Museum is one of Tucson’s best-kept secrets. Occupying four floors in the College of Pharmacy building, you never know what you will find among the collection of original medicine bottles and syringes. Among the strangest items, you’ll find these:

John Dillinger’s Chewing Gum

Notorious Depression-era gangster John Dillinger was captured in Tucson in the 1930s. One local pharmacist realized he had not only been a daily patron at the drug store, but he would also stick his chewing gum under the lunch counter. Once Dillinger was arrested, the pharmacist scraped the gum from under the counter and put it into a jar which is now on display at the Pharmacy Museum.

Snow Globes

Most people don’t equate snow globes with a pharmacy. However, snow globes date back to Julius Caesar when he would use them as lamps. During the Great Plagues of London in the mid 17th century, illuminated snow globes were placed in pharmacy windows to direct sick people to places where they could find help. Who would have though glass bowls filled with colored water would figure so prominently in a pharmacist’s history?

A Collection from the Upjohn Pharmacy at Disneyland

The Upjohn Pharmacy figured prominently in Main Street USA when Disneyland first opened July 17, 1955. While it was not a working pharmacy, two pharmacists dressed in period costumes from the late 19th century talked to park goers and gave out sample packages of multi-vitamins. The entire Upjohn Pharmacy was modeled after actual New York pharmacies in 1886 and when it closed in 1970, much of its collection was sold off. Today, an impressive part of that collection sits in the Pharmacy Museum at the University of Arizona.

We have come a long way in the world of medicine. Instead of tonics and used chewing gum, SpotRx delivers over-the-counter pharmacy products to your door in two hours or less. (As long as you live in the 85281 and 85282 zip codes.) Go to to find out more.

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