Self-help in Other Places – The Apothecary Museum

I love museums.

When we were young, my parents set aside Sunday as our museum day. We’d get dressed, go to Bojax Restaurant (a family style restaurant that’s long-since closed) and I’d order pancakes. (OMG! Can we just stop a moment and savor the thought of those airy confections? There is nothing like a restaurant pancake. Although, to be fair, my dad actually made a mean pancake in his day. He was the breakfast guy in our family. Also, as an aside, he liked peanut butter on his pancakes. Totally killed the thing, in my opinion. Dads!)

Uh, where was I?

Oh yes, breakfast and museums. This is one of those things my parents did VERY right. You know how parents always feel bad about the things they did wrong? Or is that just me? No? Didn’t think so. My parents took my sister and me to pretty-much every museum in California, including the Missions. I could go on and on about this, actually, because even back then, I understood that not all parents did this kind of thing. I loved it!

Since then, I’ve always loved hunting out the museums where I live and while on holidays. It is my own way of grabbing some Self-Help moments.

The Apothecary Museum is in a beautiful little tourist town by Niagara Falls, on the Canadian side… and it’s one of my favorite places to go when we’re in NOTL.

It opens in the spring and closes before the snow flies. It’s just a one-room museum but it’s filled with all-things apothecary.

So, let’s begin at the beginning: What is an apothecary?



  1.  a person who prepared and sold medicines and drugs.

The more you know…

What is it about bottles and potions and tiny boxes of pills that makes me giddy?


Perhaps it is memories of  my grandfather, a doctor, who tinkered around in his garage making leg braces for his young patients. He researched and found the best vitamins, natural remedies and massage techniques for my asthma… he was WAY ahead of his time! After he retired, he still worked with the Visiting Nurses Association. He was always curious and did what he loved until the day he died.

(Actually, he was mowing the lawn, walked in the house and passed out. He was pronounced dead at the hospital only an hour or so later. He was an amazing man and deeply loved by all who knew him. I adored him. I miss him!) 

Maybe it’s my own fixation on matters of health (my health anxiety/ hypochondria)?

Oh! oh! oh! Maybe I was a pharmacist in an earlier life? I mean, if you believe in those kinds of things. (I do! Kinda.)

I only know that I gravitate towards museums, yes… but really get excited about the medical stuff.

An aside: I about pee’d my pants when I stumbled across the Dental Chair/ Barber on the Queen Mary! Looking back, I don’t know when it was or who I was with… and I’ve NEVER seen it again, though I’ve been to the Queen a few times over the last ten years. Man, that was great!


I mean, seriously! As you can tell… I love this stuff!

I am all-kinds of fascinated about how medicine has evolved over the last hundred years or so… and in some ways… how it hasn’t. Like… my asthma. When I was a kid, I had an inhaler from the drug store… over the counter. It was called Bronitin Mist. Now, nobody knew it at the time but it didn’t really do more than ramp me up to ADHD speed and I’d cough up some phlegm, which felt better. I used that stuff until … gosh, almost 30… when other, more refined inhalers were finally on the market.

I wonder what was in this Briggs Asthma Remedy? I tried to look it up online and couldn’t find anything about it… though… I kept getting a natural supplement and something about a boxer named Briggs who was suspended for something to do with asthma medication. (Sorry, didn’t read it. Not a boxing fan. Ugh.)

I’ll tell you what I find interesting, too… how an old-fashioned “natural” remedy works wonders for asthma (sometimes, anyway). See, when I was pregnant (over 30 years ago) they didn’t allow me to take the inhalers. Bad for the baby, they said. I was told to do something that doctors don’t want you to do now: Drink hot, black coffee. Crazy, right?

Anyhow, enough about my breathing, which has been awful lately. Humidity sucks. But I digress. Again.

This is just my thing. I can get lost in a museum… or even an antique store… for hours. Love, love, love.

If you’re not a museum person… there must something that you are. Find that thing and DO IT as often as you can. I know it cheers me when I’m feeling blue… or just want to feel better.

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