The Soda Museum: Everything You Need To Know

The Soda Museum in St. Charles, Missouri is the personal collection of local resident Tom Smith. The museum consists of two floors. The main floor consists mainly of Coca-Cola artifacts and vintage equipments and collectibles while the upper floor showcases vintage bottles and various displays of promotional items and merchandise. The massive collection is impressive with only one third of it currently on display.

The Soda Museum in St. Charles

Who Owns The Soda Museum?

Tom Smith owns The Soda Museum and currently lives in St. Charles, Missouri. His personal collection of soda related collectibles and antiques began when he was just ten years old. As a teenager, his collection grew large enough that he routinely told his parents that one day he wanted to open his own museum.

His dream of opening a museum finally came true in December of 2023 when he opened the doors to The Soda Museum on Main Street in historic St. Charles. The area is best known as an early landing spot for American pioneers Lewis and Clark who were traveling westward in the 1800s. The building had previously been a shoe store and before that a longtime J.C. Penney location.

Coca Cola museum st charles

What’s Inside The Soda Museum?

As you walk through the front doors your eyes are immersed with visuals of red and the globally recognized Coca-Cola logo in every direction. And while you may have heard there’s a Coca Cola museum in St Charles, Tom Smith’s massive collection includes far more than just Coca-Cola memorabilia and artifacts.

Throughout the museum you’ll see an abundance of displays showing promotional materials, bottles, packaging, and advertising souvenirs for other recognizable names like Pepsi, Dr Pepper, Sprite, Mr. Pibb and 7-Up.

But even small soda brands that are mostly known regionally throughout the U.S. have some representation in the museum’s display cases. One example is Ski – a soda made by Excel Bottling Company in Breese, Illinois – about 60 miles east of St. Charles. The museum gift shop sells Ski and many other bottles from around the country.

What’s great about the museum is that Tom Smith has a backstory to most of the items on display. Which is impressive when you see just how many things he has in the collection. (Only about one third of his collection can be seen at one time, it’s so large.) Other items will rotate in over time, making follow-up visits to the museum a must.

where is the soda museum

There are plenty of unique and rare items on display as well. For example, one display case features a book produced by Coca-Cola that highlights companies they sued for trademark or copyright infringements. There’s also a vending machine that was used during segregation in the south.

While I initially thought this would simply be a Coca Cola Museum in St. Charles, full of old Coca-Cola bottles and memorabilia, it’s really a great American history museum told through the business of producing (and consuming) soda.

After you’ve finished browsing The Soda Museum, the basement is full of vintage video and pinball games that are available to play for a flat fee. Main Street Arcade is akin to an oversized “man cave” with plenty of games and things to amuse the family. It’s also a great spot to book a birthday party or gathering. They do have a snack bar with (of course) soda in actual bottles that you can purchase.

Is The Soda Museum Worth Visiting?

I visit more museums than the average person and I found The Soda Museum to be extremely entertaining and informative. If you’re lucky enough to get a personal tour from Tom, you’ll find the experience even better. It’s always enjoyable when someone loves their collection so much that you know they’ve lived and breathed it their entire life.

He has some incredible stories and knows the history of soda forwards and backwards. It was really interesting to hear his in depth knowledge on everything from small town soda producers to corporate insights and history of giants like Coca-Cola and Pepsi.

Add in some play time at Main Street Arcade and this is a fun outing while exploring historic St. Charles, Missouri.

Coca Cola museum st charles mo

How Many Soda Museums Are There?

Tom Smith, Owner and Founder of The Soda Museum in St. Charles noted that there’s only one other museum strictly dedicated to soda. Aside from that, there are museums dedicated to Coca-Cola like World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia; and the Dr Pepper Museum in Waco, Texas.

Where Is The Soda Museum?

The Soda Museum is located at 126 North Main Street in historic St. Charles, Missouri. St. Charles is located about 30 minutes west of downtown St. Louis right along the Missouri River.

The town has many blocks of shops, galleries, and restaurants as well as Missouri’s first state Capitol building. A short walk to the riverfront and you’ll find large statues of Lewis & Clark who spent time here as they began their westward journey in the 1800s.

How Much Does It Cost To Visit?

A visit to The Soda Museum costs just $10. There are other deals to combine your visit with use of the Main Street Arcade downstairs.

You can also rent Main Street Arcade and an upper level gathering space for parties or gatherings.

You can visit the museum’s Facebook page for up-to-date hours and admission prices. Also be sure to visit the St. Charles tourism website for other things to see and do while you’re in the area!

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