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Pharmaceutical Museum to close

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain has announced plans to close its museum in Lambeth High Street

A recent meeting of the society's Council took the decision to reduce the museum's funding by two-thirds, which will mean the end of public access to the museum from next year and the termination of the museum's educational outreach programme. Curator Caroline Reed has been asked to identify strategies for safeguarding the collections.

The museum, which is normally open to the public by appointment only, has in recent years held many more open days and special exhibitions, as well as being a regular participant in the Open House architectural heritage days in September.

The museum covers all aspects of British pharmacy history. The collection includes traditional dispensing equipment and storage containers, fine 17th/18th century Lambeth delftware, proprietary medicines, bronze mortars, medical caricatures and a photographic archive.

The Pharmaceutical Society adopted a constitution for the museum in 1995 by amendment to the byelaws which govern the Society and which had to be approved by the Privy Council. Enactment of this decision to close the museum requires a change to this byelaw. A draft for the change will be submitted for approval by the society's council in December 2001 and subsequently submitted to the Privy Council after a 60-day period during which Society members are invited to comment.

Mr Marshall Davies, President, said: "There have been some hard decisions to face and it was with regret that the Council agreed to curtail the role of the museum. In recent years, this aspect of the Society's work has been successful in giving the public access to pharmacy's roots and history. We are now in a position where we need to harness our resources for the profession's future."

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