Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary Museum
105-107 S Fairfax St, Alexandria, VA 22314, USA
| +1 703-746-3852
Sun, Mon 1pm - 5pm
Tue - Sat 10am - 5pm
Ye Olde ApothecaryNow a museum, the Stabler-Leadbeater Apothecary was founded in 1792 and when the family closed the business in 1933, they left everything as-is. So, what you see when you visit is a fascinating slice of Americana in its original state. The museum is small but utterly fascinating.
As with pharmacies today, the apothecary was part retail store so while you got your medicine, you could also pick up some perfume, buy baby bottles, or even a sewing machine. The second floor was the pharmacists' lab where they mixed up the colorful remedies sold below. Boxes filled with medicinal herbs with curious names like “Dragon’s Blood” line the walls of the room. Alongside the lab was the library with a collection of materials including journals, ledgers, invoices and even a letter from Martha Washington requesting that some castor oil be delivered to her home at Mount Vernon.
I was intrigued all the original, hand-blown glass bottles, with their gold plated labels, filled with all sorts of herbal medicines, pills, and tinctures. There was even a display case of medical equipment including the latest in bloodletting devices—ouch!
The museum is open only for guided tours that begin a quarter after the hour and a quarter to the hour and last for 30 minutes. It's well worth the $5 for an adult ticket!