About the Author: My name is Caitlin Lanning and I am a marketing intern for the Dr Pepper Museum. I am originally from right here in Waco, Texas, but am currently a junior at the University of Arkansas majoring in marketing!
May 27th — a day that donors and staff of the museum along with Dr Pepper fans from all around had been looking forward to for quite some time now. On May 27th we opened the doors of the Emerson Holt- Ted Getterman Exhibit Gallery. This gallery includes not only five brand new exhibits, but also a new gift shop and a new space for the legendary soda fountain. All together adding up to over 10,000 square feet, the new exhibits expand on the history of the soft drink industry that we have told for many years. You might wonder where we found all this new space? The gallery is located in the East Wing building (the building across the courtyard with the neon Dr Pepper sign).
Visitors enter the museum in the same place but receive an armband that is good throughout the entire day. This armband lets staff in the new building know you have paid for the day. After touring the museum you can travel across the courtyard towards the gift shop, soda fountain, and new gallery. Throughout the courtyard there are several historical objects and reader rails that tell you more about the history of the museum and these objects. There is also important information to learn on the East Wing building before you enter the new gallery.
After coming through the courtyard you enter the Visitor Services Gallery that was a gift of the Cooper Foundation. The famous soda fountain and gift shop – now named Frosty’s Soda Shop and Peggy Pepper’s Emporium – are the first spaces you run into upon entering. Through the red arch is the Emerson Holt – Ted Getterman Exhibit gallery, which is full of new exhibits, the first being the Treasures of the Dr Pepper Museum.
The Treasures of the Dr Pepper Museum:
We turned this historic vault (staff hid here during the 1953 tornado) into a showroom of the most valuable and rare pieces the museum has to offer. Pieces in this exhibit include: 1907 art plates, 1900 Dr Pepper pin trays, 1930s Seltzer bottles, and even a 1940 Orange Crush oil painting done by famous artist Gillette A. Elvgren. Before entering the vault through the original double brick walls, there is a short video explaining why people begin collecting and how museums acquire some of these items. You then exit the exhibit through the original vault door and proceed down the donor hallway into the rest of the gallery.
The Liquid Laboratory:
When it comes down to it, sodas are all about science. Take Dr Pepper for an example, it is made up of a total of 23 different flavors. Throughout the day (showings at 11:30, 1:30, and 3) there are guided demonstrations by a trained staff member in the Liquid Lab. These demonstrations feature soda pop science, cooking with Dr Pepper, and various science experiments. This is a great interactive family experience!
Holt Beverage Co. 7UP Bottling Line:
Many people wish to see a bottling line when coming to the museum and we are so excited to now be able to tell the story of the Holt Beverage Company. This display shows an unique insight on how the bottling process works. The gallery’s main attraction shows a mock 7Up bottling line that runs periodically throughout the day. In front of the display are step by step explanations of each process.
Dr Pepper on Wheels:
Trains, trucks, wagons, and various other modern day delivery methods play a huge part in the rise of soft drinks. Without transportation you would still have to go to the corner drug store here in Waco to have a Dr Pepper. Some of the most popular historic items such as the delivery truck and beverage wagon have been restored and placed in their new home in the museum. Other promotional tools used such as bicycles, toy cars, skateboards, and go karts are also on display. There are several new interactive areas offered in the new exhibit including a stunning train set built by train designer Holt Getterman, a pinewood derby track, and even a kid-sized replica of the delivery truck.
The Big Red Story:
What many people don’t know is that Big Red was also invented right here in Waco! The delicious red drink is currently available in 43 states. On display is the story of how Big Red was started, the production process, and how they are continuing to expand the brand. Along the wall there are stations where you can experience some of the smells that make up Big Red as well as other surprising interesting smells (hehe).
This expansion has been over 10 years in the making and we are so excited to finally get to share it with the public. We expect this summer to be especially busy because of our new spaces as well as the growth the Downtown Waco area has experienced recently. Now is the time to come to Waco!