[Webster, MA]  Just six months after opening its doors to the public and a spring season that brought visitors from all over New England to Webster, Mass., Samuel Slater Experience is expanding its program offerings this fall with concerts and conversations that pay homage to the history of the region.  

Described as “Disney-like,” the museum employs 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.   

“Half the museum is dedicated to the life of Samuel Slater, whose pioneering work built up the US textile industry in the early 1800s,” said Museum Director Barbara Van Reed.  “The other half is dedicated to the town of Webster, which he helped found, and recreates the commercially successful mill community a century later.”  

Saturday, September 24.  Museum goers can “Discover the Nipmuc Lithic Trail,” a talk presented by museum guide Joe Iamartino, who is the longtime president of the Thompson Historical Society.  Native Americans in the Nipmuc Territory surrounding Webster and northeast Connecticut left tangible artifacts, called lithic structures, that can be found today in fields and woods in the area. Mr. Iamartino will present evidence, photographic and from written history, of the purpose of these historic structures.  This free event is part of The Last Green Valley’s Walktober program. The presentation will be at 11 a.m. and will be repeated at 1 p.m.

Friday, October 14.  Mark & Raianne, beloved Massachusetts singer-songwriters, will perform an intimate concert along the museum’s recreation of Webster’s Main Street circa 1915.  They’ll be accompanied by their studio band of Doug Williamson (piano, guitar), Peter Hart (pedal steel, Dobro) and Zack Ciras (upright bass). Popular Webster establishment  Andy’s Neighborhood Canteen will provide a cash bar in the lobby of the Maanexit Hotel, one of the reconstructed buildings along “Main Street.” This free event is underwritten by the Webster Cultural Council, and begins at 6 p.m.

Friday, November 4.   Silent movie pianist and historian Richard Hughes will present a live silent movie program at Samuel Slater Experience’s Main Street’s Liberty Theater, diving into the adventure, drama, romance, and comedy that characterized the silent movies of the early 1900s. This interactive evening will include screenings of silent movie classics from Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton accompanied by live music.

On Saturday, September 17,  Samuel Slater Experience will be among a select number of institutions across the country participating in Smithsonian Magazine’s 18th annual Museum Day, an initiative in which participating museums across the United States open their doors for free to those who download a branded ticket. The annual event allows museums, zoos, and cultural centers from all 50 states to emulate the spirit of the Smithsonian Institution’s Washington, D.C.-based facilities, which offer free admission every day.  For more information, please visit smithsonianmag.com/museumday .

The Samuel Slater Experience is supported by the Janet Malser Humanities Trust, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and individual donations.

Hours of Operation 

Samuel Slater Experience is located in the former National Guard Webster Armory at 31 Ray Street, Webster, Massachusetts, and open to the public year-round. Daily Schedule: Fridays & Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday: Noon to 4 p.m.

Ticket purchases for school trips, private events, and groups can be arranged directly with staff.

For more information and tickets, visit samuelslaterexperience.org

Ken Abrams

Lifestyle Editor Ken Abrams writes about music, the arts and more for What'sUpNewp. He is also a contributor to Providence Monthly, SO RI, Hey Rhody and The Bay magazines.
Ken DJ's "The Kingston Coffeehouse," a roots/folk/rock radio show every Tuesday, 6-9 PM on WRIU 90.3 FM. He is a former educator in the Scituate, RI school system where he taught Social Studies for over 30 years.
Ken is presently on the board of the Rhode Island Folk Festival and Newport Live (formerly Common Fence Music), a non-profit that brings diverse musical acts to the Newport area.