Built in 1906 by architect Milton Scott, the Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company was the first building dedicated to the manufacturing of Dr Pepper. Creating a Dr Pepper Museum was the vision of a few devoted enthusiasts of both Dr Pepper and its history. The Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company became the Dr Pepper Museum in 1989, then the Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute in 1997. Today it is the Museum’s largest artifact and a tribute to the imagination and talent that fueled Dr Pepper’s success throughout the years.
The Museum’s mission is to educate and entertain the general public through the collection, preservation, interpretation, and exhibition of objects relevant to the history of the soft drink industry, and through that example, the free enterprise economic system.
To further that mission the Free Enterprise Institute was created in 1997 for the purpose of educating Texas school children and adults about the economic system that underlies American life. Thousands of students from as far away as San Antonio and Houston visit the Museum and Institute on field trips, learning elements of economics and free enterprise in guided tours.
The Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute is a private non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors elected by its membership. The Museum is neither owned nor operated by Keurig Dr Pepper, the brand owner of Dr Pepper. The Museum and Free Enterprise Institute opened to the public in May of 1991 and has attracted over 2,000,000 visitors.
The Dr Pepper Museum and Free Enterprise Institute is dedicated to being the finest museum in the world devoted to telling the story of the soft drink industry and to using this industry as a practical model of the free enterprise system.
The Free Enterprise Institute
The Free Enterprise Institute was the dream of W.W. “Foots” Clements, one of the Company’s most influential leaders. The Institute is located on the third floor of the Museum and is devoted to Foots Clements and the free enterprise economic system. Using the soft drink industry as an example, school-age children are taught the principles of the American system of free enterprise economics. With a classroom/auditorium and state-of-the-art interactive exhibits, the Institute is specifically designed to inspire students and adults alike to use their imaginations and follow their dreams.
The Dr Pepper Museum includes the original 1906 bottling plant, a newly renovated courtyard and parking lot, and the historic Kellum-Rotan building. The Kellum-Rotan building was built in the 1880s, making it one of the oldest buildings remaining in downtown Waco. It is currently used to house the Museum’s collection and in the future will house the Museum’s administrative offices and additional exhibits. Both the Dr Pepper Museum and the Kellum-Rotan building are excellent examples of important American architecture and accurately preserved structures.
The Dr Pepper Museum holds one of the finest collections of soft drink memorabilia in the world. The items are not just Dr Pepper-related. All soft drink brands are welcome at the Dr Pepper Museum! From Pepsi-Cola to Kickapoo Joy Juice, the collections are a resource for information about the entire soft drink industry. The Dunagan Archives, soft drink related publications, audio-visual media, both the Dr Pepper Company and Dr Pepper Museum annals, and numerous original photographs are contained in the archival collections. The Dr Pepper Museum is frequently called upon to open the collections and archives to academic research, the motion picture and television industry, exhibition and graphic designers, and other museums making it a treasured public resource.
About Dr Pepper
Dr Pepper is a native of Waco, Texas, and the oldest major soft drink in America. It was created by Dr. Charles Alderton at the Old Corner Drug Store in 1885, predating Coca-Cola by one year. From “Vim, Vigor, and Vitality,” “Drink a Bite to Eat at 10, 2 and 4,” “I’m a Pepper” to “Just What the Doctor Ordered,” Dr Pepper’s slogans over the years have made it one of the most unique success stories of American free enterprise. The values of innovation and quality have consistently guided the Dr Pepper business, allowing this small, regional soft drink to attain international success without compromising the history that makes Dr Pepper so special. The Dr Pepper Museum is not owned or operated by Keurig Dr Pepper (the parent company of Dr Pepper) but is grateful for their continuing support.