[Webster, MAJanuary 26, 2022] –The Samuel Slater Experience, a historic museum featuring state-of-the-art 4-D digital technology to tell the story of Samuel Slater, the beginnings of the American Industrial Revolution, and the founding of Webster, Massachusetts in the early 19th century, announced today it will be opening its doors to the public on Friday, March 4, 2022 for its first self-guided tours. A team of specialists have been busy working on the former National Guard Armory building in Webster since 2018 and are thrilled to reveal the new experience to the community and museum-goers from around the world.

The Samuel Slater Experience comprises more than twenty unique, immersive exhibits that transport the audience back to the early 1800s as the seeds of the American Industrial Revolution were sown. The museum starts with a young and conflicted Samuel Slater and his immigration to America, his success during the era and his impact on the geographic area. Guests will explore Slater’s unique factory model that would transform manufacturing in America. The museum then takes you forward a century, recreating downtown Webster in the early 1900s, which has become a hub of commerce and industry. 

Samuel Slater (1768 – 1835) was referred to by some as the “Father of the American Industrial Revolution.” In 1811, Slater moved to Massachusetts and built new cotton mills as well as one of the first woolen mills in America, all powered by the French River and Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, in what was then called Oxford and later renamed Webster after Senator Daniel Webster. Slater brought innovation to textile manufacturing and introduced the “factory system” that attracted workers to the region and established the infrastructure that made Webster a thriving “boomtown.” 

It has been our vision to bring an interactive and dynamic experience that would engage students and families alike back to the roots of this town and area,” says Samuel Slater Experience founder Christopher Robert. “We are thrilled to bring this new concept of learning to students and visitors in the same light that Samuel Slater brought technological innovation to textile manufacturing – The Samuel Slater Experience will allow visitors to become immersed in life as it once was, to feel the waves crashing on a boat crossing the Atlantic, to hear the bustling of massive machinery in the heart of a full-scale New England mill, and see life on Main Street in Webster at the turn of the 20th Century.”

With the assistance of Webster town officials, museum and industrial era curators, Doug Mund’s museum design expertise and his firm dmdg2, digital production mastermind Bob Noll and Boston Productions Inc., Webster business owner and philanthropist Christopher Robert has brought this state-of-the-art facility to life.

“The overall construction of the building, including many of the exhibit environments, were completed by local builders and craftsmen,” says Doug Mund of dmdg2. “Only the very special props, such as the ship, were fabricated and installed from our design by museum specialty fabricators. Various other props were largely fabricated on-site by local craftsmen. Significant acquisition of period-correct artifacts were sourced for the project, many being donated by the local community.”

Robert founded Webster Museums Incorporated in 2017 as a 501 (c) (3) to foster public knowledge about the history of the American Industrial Revolution in New England. The non-profit organization’s first project is the completion of the Samuel Slater Experience.

Robert founded Webster Museums Incorporated in 2017 as a 501 (c) (3) to foster public knowledge about the history of the American Industrial Revolution in New England. The non-profit organization’s first project is the completion of the Samuel Slater Experience.

Masks or face coverings will be required by all museum visitors, following state and town recommendations for COVID-19 safety protocols. Safe social distancing will be maintained throughout self-guided visits. 

The fundamental purpose of the 17,000-square-foot Samuel Slater Experience is to educate, and with that, the exhibits are designed in coordination with curriculum directors from the local school districts, aligned with approved curriculum standards in both social studies and STEM fields.

The Samuel Slater Experience received generous support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Janet Malser Humanities Trust.

Hours of Operation 

The Samuel Slater Experience is open to the public year-round.

Daily Schedule:

Friday:             10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Saturday:         10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sunday:           Noon to 4 p.m.

The museum is also open on some Monday holidays and school vacation weeks. The museum is closed on New Year’s Day, Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve Day, and Christmas Day. 

Private events and group visits can be scheduled for other days and time periods.

Visitors should plan to spend an hour to an hour-and-a-half for their tour.

Tickets and Pricing

Tickets may be purchased in advance online or onsite in the gift shop. 

General admission:  

Adults                                     $16

Students                                  $7

Seniors (60+)                          $10

Children 4 and under               Free

Members                                 Free

Student school trip price         $10

Ticket purchases for school trips, private events, and groups can be arranged directly with staff. Call 508-461-2955 or email admin@samuelslaterexperience.org 

For more information and tickets, visit samuelslaterexperience.org

Samuel Slater Experience is located in the Old Webster Armory 31 Ray Street, Webster, MA