2016 and 2017 were years of incredible growth and change for the Dr Pepper Museum & Free Enterprise Institute. Almost two million people have visited the Historic Home of the Nation’s Oldest Major Soft Drink, with over 350,000 of those coming in the last two years alone.
To accommodate our growing audience we opened the Emerson Holt – Ted Getterman Exhibit Gallery, along with an expanded gift shop and soda fountain, in May of 2016 in the renovated East Wing Building. The building itself is quite old (the original portion was built in 1882), but the new gallery and visitor service spaces offer a sparkling new experience that tells the story of so much more than Dr Pepper.
With the East Wing Building renovation under our belt, we are now ready to turn our attention back to where it all started: the historic 1906 Artesian Manufacturing and Bottling Company Building. Known internally as Phase V, proposed updates to the building will require us to meet a $750,000 fundraising goal. Thanks to the tireless work of the Board of Directors and Staff, a large portion of the funds are already in hand and construction has begun!
What does this mean for you, the visitor? In the next year, you will most likely encounter obstacles to the normal flow of traffic due to construction. We are working hard to make your path through the Museum convenient and keep as many of the exhibits open as possible. Some of our most popular exhibits, such as the Old Corner Drug Store, will undergo relocations and major updates, so they will be closed at certain times throughout the year.
Immediate changes you might notice include the relocation of the ticket booth, as well as the entrance. Take note of the directional signage when you enter the courtyard, as line queues may adjust depending on the traffic on any given day. Visitor Guides, which you receive along with your wristband when you pay admission, have helpful information about how to best navigate the exhibits while the building is under construction. As always, the Museum is ADA compliant.
If you have a suggestion that might help us better serve our visitors, please send us an email. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we work to make our historic building the best it can be so we can continue to tell the amazing story of Dr Pepper, Waco, and the soft drink industry.