Dean Prof. Javier Puente highlights work of the Museum of chemistry and pharmacy

Dean Prof. Javier Puente highlights work of the Museum of chemistry and pharmacy

The development of science in the country. That is one of the topics that can be read between the lines when visiting the César Leyton Caravagno Museum of Chemistry and Pharmacy of the Faculty of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Chile, located steps from kilometer zero of the capital, on Merced Street.

Housed in the premises of the College of Pharmaceutical Chemists since 1987, this museum guards, for more than 60 years, the traces of the growth of the discipline in our country, hand in hand with its development in the Casa de Bello, in a history in which prominent academics such as Raúl Cabrera have participated, in the direction of the project between 1976 and 1986; Hermann Schmidt-Hebbel between 1987 and 1996; and Irma Pennacchiotti, between 1996 and 2017, the year in which a revitalization process began with the help of the conservatives Richard Solís and Iván Oyarzún, now in development.

The leverage and opening of a patrimonial space

As highlighted by Javier Puente, vice-dean of the Faculty of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, this academic unit is "promoting a project to update and enhance its valuable heritage", a project with which they hope to "make it known to the community and thus collaborate in the understanding of the development of pharmaceutical assistance in Chile", all this, in a museographic and conservation work, where the formation of the collections has already been carried out.

Prof. Javier Puente

"In this museum there is a cross between science and heritage," said Richard Solís, given that the elements protected by the establishment tell "a story where our institutionality, the U. of Chile, has a powerful role in the raison d'être of these disciplines."

Thus, when descending to the basement of the building, visitors to the museum can visit the nooks and crannies where microscopes, mortars, autoclaves, scales and containers of various drugs and materials for the handling of reagents and preparations of pharmaceutical formulations rest, all from different eras, at the same time as entering the library where they are sheltered, among other things, the theses of the pioneers of the subject in our country, as well as a publication of 1580 "Kranter Bush" by Adam Lanicerus, and an important series of national and foreign journals of the specialty.

It is precisely this last type of materials that together with a conservation work, are gradually being entered into the Bello Catalog of the University of Chile, in order to guarantee their registration and the systematicity of their future consultations.

The history of the discipline and its social role

Another of the historical crosses present in this museum is the relationship between the advancement of the discipline and the problems of our country. For Iván Oyarzún this is materialized in that "beyond preserving curious objects, the idea is also to unravel that history that has a powerful link with society", from "small objects give us an account of the sciences related to social issues, with a clear incidence, such as, for example, publications on nutrition issues, that while they might be from another area, they have a lot to do with chemistry."

That is why one of the fundamental axes of this new stage of this scientific and university museum is, as Richard Solís pointed out, "to do something more integrative, which does not only serve for university students, but how we can link it with the school student world", to which is added the research and conservation work that is already being developed.

Visits to the Museum of chemistry and pharmacy are from Tuesday to Friday from 15:00 to 17:00 hrs. For special travels or questions, write to the The Museum is located in Merced 50, Metro Baquedano across from forest park.

Source: Directorate of Communications, Central House.

Directorate of Extension and Communications, March 19, 2018.