From Eph’s Store in Vermont, Illinois

Mortar & Pestle, Potions & Pills: A History of Apothecary, features three of the museum’s collections that illustrate the changes to what we know today as “the pharmacy.”

Housed in a storefront in Vermont, Illinois, C.C. “Eph” Mercer’s drugstore in Vermont, was well known for its eclectic mix of items for sale and antiques he collected.   Although Mercer was not a trained pharmacist, he had a keen interest in preserving local history, including early packaged remedies. Today his collection provides insights into early apothecaries in the region.

Jack Stites was a trained pharmacist who bought the former Haney Pharmacy in July of 1953.  During the nearly 50 years Stites served the community, he experienced the changes that occurred in the Pharmacy field, which are evident in the artifacts on display in the exhibit.  He influenced and set a high professional standard for the next generation of the region’s pharmacists.

Jack Harn worked for Jack Stites at his store on the south side of Macomb’s Courthouse Square.  Also a trained  Pharmacist, graduating from Drake University Pharmacy School in 1967, he spent his professional career working at Western Illinois University.   His recently donated collection includes many examples of medicines that storefront druggists would have dispensed in the early 20th century.

These three collections reveal the changes of an often overlooked aspect of healthcare in our region.  For centuries druggists and pharmacists have been the most accessible health care professionals in every community, striving to heal and help improve our health.

The exhibit will be on view June 16 through September 12, 2015,