After almost 30 years as a Waco institution, the staff and board of the Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute (DPMFEI) still work hard to communicate a few truths to the visitors we welcome every day. Did you know the Museum is a nonprofit organization? We are not owned or operated by Keurig Dr Pepper, although they partner with us and support us in a variety of ways. Even though Waco is the home of Dr Pepper (it was invented here in 1885), the DPMFEI tells the story of the entire soft drink industry with a special focus on free enterprise and entrepreneurship. So yes, you will see Coke and Pepsi objects in the Museum! We love all soft drinks at the DPMFEI.
Second, you get a free Dr Pepper with paid admission to the Museum. While this has always been the expectation upon arrival at our soda museum, it was not something we have been able to offer until recently. With the daily flurry of activity in Downtown Waco in 2020, it’s hard to remember it has only been this way for a relatively short time. The DPMFEI existed as a small, sometimes struggling organization in a retail desert for most of its life. Restoring the original bottling plant building was a labor of love that marked one of the first revitalization efforts in Downtown, but it wasn’t until the boom of the last few years that we have had the resources to start meeting expectations.
February 2020 marks one year since we started offering a free Dr Pepper with admission (over 135,000 given out in 2019!), and it’s never been a better time to be a Pepper.
Other efforts to make a visit to the Museum even better include continued maintenance to our historic buildings, expanded Gift Shop and Soda Fountain spaces opening next month, and engaging new exhibits – Pop Pop, Fizzle Fizzle, an exhibit about soft drink successes and failures, opened at the beginning of February and will run through May 2021. We love being able to give our visitors an amazing experience!
The last thing you need to know about the DPMFEI is this – we’re here because you love Dr Pepper. More than any other soft drink brand, Dr Pepper holds a special place in the collective memory and nostalgia that makes American pop culture (pun intended!) special. There is always something new to see at the DPMFEI alongside the classics – the artesian well, Doc Alderton, and of course, we are the Original Home of the Dr Pepper Float. We welcome you back every time you are in Waco.