Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop

This eighteenth-century building was restored to house the Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, a museum of medicine, pharmacy, and military and political affairs. Dr. Mercer served the citizens of Fredericksburg with medicines and treatments of the time. Leeches, lancets, snakeroot, and crab claws made up just some of the remedies. Dr. Mercer practiced medicine for fifteen years in Fredericksburg. His patients included Mary Washington. Dr. Mercer left his practice to join the Revolutionary army and died as a Brigadier General at the Battle of Princeton.

Click HERE to learn more about the safety protocols the museum is following.

Location: 1020 Caroline St, Fredericksburg, VA 22401 

Hours: Mon., Fri. & Sat. 10 am – 4 pm/ Sunday 12 pm – 4 pm Closed January 1, Thanksgiving, December 24, 25, 31.

Please allow 30 minutes for your visit.

Cost:

  • Adult $7, Student age 6-18 $3, Children age 5 & under FREE
  • Heritage Pass: This is a single pass to visit all three museums! Online it says this ticket is valid for 3 months after purchase. (The tour guide at the first location we visited said that the pass is only good for a month. The back of the pass says the same thing. I am checking to see which is correct.) Purchase online, print your payment receipt and bring with you to whichever site you choose to begin your tour. Adults $18, Student age 6-18 $7

Purchase the above tickets online HERE.

  • Timeless Ticket: To save even more, purchase the Timeless Ticket.  This gives you a one-time admission to the most frequently visited attractions including Fredericksburg area battlefields. $32 for adults, one free student (ages 6 to 18) ticket to each ticket-purchasing adult. Additional student tickets are $10 each. Children 5 and under are free. The Timeless Ticket has no expiration. The ticket offers admission to these attractions: Fredericksburg Area Museum, Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop, Rising Sun Tavern, Mary Washington House, James Monroe Museum & Memorial Library, Historic Kenmore, George Washington’s Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm, Gari Melchers Home and Studio at Belmont, Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park.

Visit the Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania or Stafford Visitor Center to purchase Timeless Tickets. Addresses are listed HERE.

Number 5 and I decided to do a marathon and visit all three Washington Heritage Museums in one afternoon. All are within walking distance of each other which is nice, and it was a beautiful day. It was a lot of information at one time, though. Number 5 said that the Apothecary was her favorite. If you’re planning on taking younger children to one of these museums, the Hugh Mercer Apothecary is the best. The other two museums might not hold their attention.

The Hugh Mercer Apothecary was the first museum we visited out of the three. Number 1 visited the apothecary on an elementary school field trip years ago. I remember her talking about how fascinating the tour was.

Right when we stepped in, the docents said we had walked into 1774. Both stayed in character speaking in colonial terms which was fun. We learned a lot about the use of herbs and chemicals in 18th century medicine. Unfortunately, because of safety guidelines, they could not pass around any of the medical items nor let us smell any of the herbs.

We saw the live leeches! Eek! We thought they were fake at first. The tour really made us appreciate modern medicine.

After our tour, we headed outside to visit the Physic Garden of medicinal herbs which is adjacent to the museum. There are at least 38 plants and their 18th century usage. The garden is open daily from 9-5. You don’t need a ticket to visit it.

The Hugh Mercer Apothecary Shop definitely is worth a visit!

For more information see the Apothecary Ledger of Hugh Mercer.

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