McDaniel intern helps install Farm Museum's new pharmacy exhibit

Wearing white cotton gloves to ensure the artifacts were not contaminated with oil and dust, McDaniel College sophomore Zac Sheaffer helped Carroll County Farm Museum Curator Stefanie Strosnider arrange the organization's new pharmacy exhibit last week.

"I think I did a good job," Sheaffer said. "When we first went through the pieces, I had to make sure they were all intact. I tried to pick colorful things to really make the display pop. It took lots of care and time."


Sheaffer, of Hanover, Pennsylvania, interned with the museum this semester and has helped reorganize many of the organization's collections under Strosnider's guidance. Sheaffer is in the honors program at McDaniel and is pursing a double major in Arabic/Middle Eastern studies and history. After the semester ends, Sheaffer will go on to intern at Translation Excellence in Denver.

"As a history major, it's been very interesting," Sheaffer said. "I had never been to the museum before I began my internship. Now I work three times a week for two hours. I would love to come back and intern again if I have space in my schedule."

Strosnider said Sheaffer has been an asset to the museum.

"It's gone really well," she said. "Zac created a new activity book for children's touch room and helped organize the textile room during the redesign. He's very capable and very willing to learn."

Strosnider explained that the new exhibit focuses on how medicine has changed over time.

"It's part of a long running series of exhibits on historic trades in Carroll County," she said. "Pharmacies and their development have played a major role in rural societies throughout history. The exhibit on display focuses on the Empiric Era of pharmacy, which takes place from 1600 to 1940. The artifacts within the exhibit range from the years 1800-1930."

Strosnider said one of the artifacts is a poison used to treat the common cold or to freshen breath. The exhibit also features chocolate-coated tablets, glass inhalers and pills to stop a skin disease known as mange.

The exhibit also incorporates a pharmacy scale from the Springfield State Hospital located in Sykesville. The hospital was established in 1896 as the second psychiatric hospital in the state of Maryland and is still in operation today.

Retired pharmacist Arnold "Skip" Amass, of Westminster, donated several items including the pharmacy scale, and a mortar and pestle. Amass is the former owner the Taneytown Pharmacy, one of the oldest continuous pharmacies in Carroll County.

"The pharmacy dates back to the late 1790s," Amass said. "In the basement, there was a whole bunch of paraphernalia. I didn't want that stuff to disappear so I took it all the farm museum in the late 1970s."

Amass said he was delighted that Strosnider and Sheaffer were reviving the pharmacy artifacts.

"I think visitors will be amazed. There's so many things to see and appreciate," Amass said.

The exhibit will be on display through July 31 in the farmhouse study.