August 01, 2003
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts August 2003 Current Issue
August 2003
Short Cuts:Uncommon Culture

A visit to some decidedly offbeat museums

Pop appeal: Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas
Pop appeal: Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas

The Grand Canyon? Been there. The running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain? Done that. A NASA-guided excursion up to the International Space Station? Yawnsville. Let’s face it, today’s seen-it-all attendees need something truly special to make their precious free time exciting. Fortunately, M&C has found some unusual museums guaranteed to raise the brows of even the most jaded meeting-goer.

  • The Recreational Vehicle and Manufactured Housing Hall of Fame (Elkhart, Ind.; 800-378-8694; About 90 miles east of Chicago lies this repository of historic RVs and mobile homes, featuring everything from a vintage 1913 “Earl” Travel Trailer (said to be the oldest non-tented vehicle of its kind) to the voluptuous 1967 Winnebago 19-foot Motorhome. The museum can handle groups of up to 60 at a time.
  • Dr Pepper Museum (Waco, Texas; 254-757-1024; An ode to soda, the museum offers guided tours (group rates for 10 or more are available) that cover the history and trivia of the famous fizz (did you know they deliberately dropped the period after “Dr” in the 1950s?), along with displays of rare bottles and collectibles. Groups can rent out the place all 18,500 square feet for effervescent fun.
  • Stark’s Vacuum Cleaner Museum (Portland, Ore.; 800-230-4101). When they say this facility’s exhibits have a strong draw, they’re not kidding. Here you’ll find an original hand-pumped machine from the late 1800s (one person pumped, the other worked the nozzle), Victorian-era bellows-type vacuums, all-wood carpet sweepers and sleek art deco electric models. The museum is in Stark’s Vacuums’ corporate headquarters; groups of any size are welcome.

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