Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum is located at South Washington Street in downtown Vicksburg, Mississippi. Visitors traveling west on I-20 should take Exit 4B and head west on Clay Street to Washington Street and turn right, or if heading east on I-20, take exit 1 just after crossing the Mississippi River bridge and head north on Washington Street. The museum is open 9am to 5pm Monday to Saturday and 1.30 pm to 4.30 pm on Sundays throughout the year except New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
The Biedenharn family was the original bottlers of Coca-Cola and this museum has many exhibits that tell the story of them and the history of this soft drink. Joe Biedenharn built a candy store in Vicksburg with his father, and started bottling Coca-Cola there from the 1890s through to 1938 when a new plant was opened in Washington Street. Having been sold and used for other commercial purposes the building was repurchased by the family, who set up exhibits and displayed historic photographs here.
Visitors will be able to see an authentically-restored candy store and office area similar to that of the Biedenharn's one of the late 19th / early 20th century. It features furnishings and displays of the 1890s and offers visitors ice cream, fountain Cokes, Coke floats and a wide selection of Coca-Cola souvenirs. They will also see the process used to first bottle Coca-Cola, replicas of the equipment first used to bottle Coke, learn about the history of the brand's advertising and lots of memorabilia from past to present.
A trip round the museum is a self-guided tour that will probably only take between 30 and 45 minutes, although there are helpful staff on hand to answer questions. The exhibits contain mainly old photographs with explanations behind glass cases as well as items from the early days of the Coca-Cola bottling industry and the advertisements from those earlier times. Reviews from previous visitors to the museum are very favorable, who point out that whilst it is quite small it remains interesting and well worth visiting.
The museum building was donated to the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation (VFHP), which still owns and operates this tourist attraction. VFHP aims to maintain the historical and architectural heritage of the city and was founded in 1958. Income for the VFHP comes from membership dues, fundraising, donations, as well as retailing and admissions from the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum.
Whilst in the area visitors may want to see other attractions with several historic mansions open for tourists to visit. Built in the mid 19th century, Cedar Grove located along the banks of the Mississippi River in Oak Street features period antiques and furnishings, whilst Duff Green Mansion served as a hospital during the Civil War and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Children may be more interested in the Great Animal Adventures Children's Museum in China Street, which has activities for kids and hands on exhibits.