Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Volume 3, Series 1 of the Dr Pepper Museum Intern Interest Peice Series

Written by Robin Geelhoed, Baylor University Public Relations Student

I know it’s shocking, but I don’t like Dr Pepper. I apologize to anyone who may take offense to it, but I’m a 7-Up type of girl.

Being from Chicago, I didn’t grow up with Dr Pepper. It’s definitely more of a Texas thing. But going to Baylor, I quickly learned the importance of the soft drink to Texans and to Baylor. Baylor has a weekly Dr Pepper Hour featuring Dr Pepper floats. Not to mention, the old tradition of feeding our bear mascots the drink during football games (until someone figured out all the sugar was horrible for their teeth).

I must admit, it took me three years to visit the Dr Pepper Museum. The Public Relations Student Society of America had a meeting here, and I was excited to see the museum. Jennie, the Director of Communications, spoke to us about the public relations side of the museum. Since I’ve been on a kick for a while that I want to do public relations for a museum, this was the perfect opportunity to see how’s it done.

Now, I am addicted to museums. I spent a semester studying in London, and I visited just about every museum possible while backpacking Europe.

And the poster is true; Paris has the Louvre, and Waco has the Dr Pepper.

Seriously, other than the Mona Lisa, the Louvre has nothing on the Dr Pepper. You can’t get lost in the Dr Pepper Museum, and everyone speaks English. It’s a beautiful thing.

Forget French architecture, my favorite thing about the Dr Pepper Museum is the building. The 1900s architecture of arched doorways and windows paired with tan brick gives the building a sense of heritage and permanence.

The building was constructed in 1906 and served as a bottling plant. The original wood floor is still in use on the second floor, where the syrups were made. The sticky wood, covered in syrup, was hosed down each day rather than making some poor janitor mop up each night.

The Dr Pepper Museum captures the historical atmosphere of an old-fashioned soda shop and offers a glimpse at the invention of a soda pop. But it goes a step farther and shows the development of a city.

There are several photo exhibits that show the development of Waco and the effects of the tornado in 1953. The black-and-white photos show a growing metropolis haulted by this natural disaster that ripped through the downtown area and destroyed numerous building.

There is something captivating about stepping back in time and enjoying an old-fashioned Dr Pepper the way Doc Alderton intended. The Dr Pepper Museum offers a chance to experience historical Waco through the history of a soft drink.

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