This Odd Museum In New Orleans Is A Budget-Friendly Destination You Won't Want To Miss Out On

New Orleans is one of the country's culturally significant cities. With many homes and buildings (like the Old Ursuline Convent) dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries, it's a compelling destination for history and architecture enthusiasts. Likewise, it's a place for those who love the unusual. One of the best things to do in New Orleans is visit its unorthodox attractions. This includes the Historic Voodoo Museum, the Museum of Death, and the Pharmacy Museum. 

Located in the French Quarter, the Pharmacy Museum is ideal for tourists looking to enjoy an inexpensive activity in the city. General admission ranges from just $7 to $10 and tickets can be purchased onsite. Kids who are six or younger can enter for free. Like almost everything else in New Orleans, the Pharmacy Museum has a peculiar history. It was formerly a functioning pharmacy and home to Louis Joseph Dufilho Jr., a French immigrant who is said to be the first licensed pharmacist in the country. Dufilho Jr. lived and worked here from 1823 until 1855.

In 1950, the building was converted into a museum modeled after Dufilho Jr.'s 19th-century pharmacy. Now, visitors to the museum can feel as if they have stepped into the past to learn about medical history and oddities.

What's on at New Orleans Pharmacy Museum

Although the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum is relatively compact, there's much to see. In fact, there are over 18,400 items on display. The building, which has two stories, is littered with vintage medicine bottles, old containers with herbs, medical instruments, antiques, old cosmetics, and so much more. One treasure is a lead pipe soda fountain from the 1800s that still works. In addition, the museum has a gorgeous courtyard for visitors to enjoy the often warm NOLA weather.

Visitors can easily spend more than an hour viewing these items and learning about their use in a medical context. Notably, the museum has exhibits on historic midwifery, obstetrics, and voodoo potions, among others. The museum offers a guided 45-minute tour that provides additional historical information on the pharmacy and strange medical techniques from the past. Tickets are $15 with discounts for seniors, students, military veterans, and people with disabilities, and tickets for children under six are free. Tours are only available on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 10 a.m., and you must make a reservation online in advance. Note the museum is closed on Sunday and Monday.

Is the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum haunted?

New Orleans is world-famous for its spooky reputation and is widely considered one of the country's most haunted cities. Many locations around NOLA have reported otherworldly phenomena and sightings. That said, the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum confirms that it is indeed haunted but does not go into further detail. It is said that the ghost of Dr. James Dupas haunts the museum. He purchased the building in 1855 and rumor has it that Dupas performed medical experiments on patients, though the Pharmacy Museum doesn't support this theory.

Nevertheless, there have been alleged sightings of Dupas in the museum. He is reportedly seen roaming the building at night in a brown suit and causing trouble by moving things around. In a 2017 interview with WDSU, tour guide Ruth Ex said they had witnessed drawers and doors opening and closing independently.

In 2019, Owen Ever, a historian at the museum, expressed his belief that the building was haunted, telling WGNO, "It is like time traveling here, and so I believe the dead like to stick around, and there certainly was death here. It is a place of medicine, and it's full of a lot of tools that inflicted a lot of scary treatments and pain." Despite this, the museum does not allow paranormal investigations. However, if you're keen on the supernatural, stay at one of the best haunted hotels in New Orleans during your visit.