Heritage Square Museum will formally open its new Colonial Drugstore on Saturday, November 3 at 2:00 pm for invited guests. The grand opening festivities will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony, catered refreshments, vintage cars, and remarks from designated speakers associated with the museum including city officials. The Colonial Drugstore will be open to the general public beginning Sunday, November 4.
The building, the first to be constructed on site in the museum’s 43 year history, will be included in all guided tours for museum visitors. The building and historic interior exhibit will be known as Colonial Drug, George A. Simmons, Proprietor and will serve as an historical record of the pharmaceutical industry as well as illustrating the evolution of the neighborhood drugstore. Moreover, it will become an integral part of Heritage Square Museum and will evoke the appearance, character, function and activities of a typical corner pharmacy. It is the first permanent exhibit of its kind in Southern California.
The Colonial Drugstore is a recreation of the original business that George A. Simmons owned and operated in Highland Park (just a mile away from Heritage Square) after World War I. In memory of their father, the Simmons family generously donated the original fixtures, vintage soda fountain, and George A. Simmons’ impressive archival collection of drugstore products that he acquired over a period of more than sixty years. This collection of over 80,000 items includes pharmaceuticals, botanical, and cosmetics, most still in their original packaging. 95% of the items date between 1888 and 1950, and 90% are no longer being made or used making this collection the first of its kind in Southern California.
The building will be located next to the Lincoln Avenue Methodist Church. This will expand the museum’s interpretive timeline as well as the physical tour taking visitors further down the property. The building will be an important educational center for many local schools and universities who specialize in pharmaceutical medicine.