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May 2021 Newsletter

Script that reads Hello to all SSE Followers

Construction Update 

The exterior of the Armory building looks much the same as it has for years, but inside, construction is rapidly coming to an end.

Museum designer Doug Mund sums it up this way: “The museum is really coming together. Almost all of the infrastructure for all of the exhibit theme areas are in place. Getting to this point has been a lot of work and to the average museum goer, not very exciting, but to me, having all the systems working, and being tested is a huge accomplishment. 

“Now really exciting things will begin. The end of this month we will be bringing in approximately 40 oversized graphics, some as large as 10’ and we will begin mounting them in the various exhibit areas. Along with these, the artifact bases and platforms will be arriving. One train baggage cart from 1903 and a wagon from 1910 will also arrive from Oklahoma; each will be used as a prop/artifact to help tell the story. Cotton bales will also be arriving in the next few weeks, from Texas. Other items will continue to flow to the site, including an additional 40 graphics, text panels, artifacts, interactive exhibit elements, and really, really exciting things like, rats, bats and owls.”

Chamber of Commerce Event 

There’s something about deadlines, and one that’s just ahead of us is June 8, when SSE will host the first in-person event that the local Webster-Dudley-Oxford Chamber of Commerce has held in more than a year. It is the annual meeting, normally held in January, but delayed this year due to COVID-19. 

The event will take place outdoors in a tent, with guided, timed pre-opening preview tours for the attendees. All businesses are invited to attend, Chamber members and nonmembers alike. See below for registration information. Samuel Slater Restaurant will do the catering honors. See you there!


Webster-Dudley-Oxford Chamber of Commerce 2021 Annual meeting Graphic

SSE Receives Silver Hammer Award

Each year, the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce recognizes the special accomplishments of area people and businesses in categories such as Business of the Year and Entrepreneur of the Year. One of them is the Silver Hammer Award, which is given yearly by the Chamber at the Annual Awards Ceremony to acknowledge construction or rehabilitation projects that have an extraordinary visual and aesthetic impact on our physical landscape and that have brought new life to some of the region’s most historic assets. Generally, buildings that qualify are in excess of 100 years old, have undergone extensive renovation, and are located within the Chamber’s service area – generally Central Mass.” 

Below is the official recognition letter from Chamber President and CEO Timothy Murray that the Samuel Slater Experience is a recipient for 2021. The awards ceremony will be held May 20.

Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce 2021 Silver Hammer Award


Earlier this spring Steve Rotman, president and CEO of Vystar and Rotmans (furniture) and Daniel Dimezza, executive director of Summit Academy in Worcester stopped by for a visit and tour. Like most visitors, they were impressed with the SSE vision for education. Summit Academy provides programs for autistic students.

Daniel Dimezza, executive director of Summit Academy in Worcester; Chris Robert, Samuel Slater Experience president; Steve Rotman, president and CEO of Vystar and Rotmans; and Olivia Spratt, museum curator.

Daniel Dimezza, executive director of Summit Academy in Worcester; Chris Robert, Samuel Slater Experience president; Steve Rotman, president and CEO of Vystar and Rotmans; and Olivia Spratt, museum curator.

Back at the Ranch

The concert season at Indian Ranch has begun, and we hope to attract the 20,000 or music lovers that visit each summer to stop by the Samuel Slater Shed to watch a video and the bio clips of SSE characters that will be constructed near the entrance gate. The shed has arrived; the video installations are coming, as is a kiosk for ticket purchases.

Samuel Slater Experience Construction Update

Slater Sheep Art Project

Last month we told you that we are planning a high visibility awareness campaign for Samuel Slater Experience with a flock of colorfully painted sheep displayed through the Webster area. We are preparing a Call for Artists and a Call for Sponsors. We will issue a separate newsletter with all the details soon. If you have questions in the meantime, please contact Dave Laabs at for artists information, Connie Gallant at for sponsors information or Barbara Van Reed at for general information.

From the Desk of Tim Prouty, Educator

This month we recommend another Claredon Lesson Plan, which explains the revolution of the printing industry. Many regional residents recognize the Webster Times archives as a great resource for researching the local history; interestingly, this site reveals how fast the technology changed and is still changing. This particular lesson identifies how the print industry evolved. As we know, the communications industry affects how we view the world we live in. Although this Claredon plan is designed for primary grades, the site leads to a number of resources that can be appropriate for older students. Please use this link to learn more: https://clarendonlearning.orge/lesson-plans/the-printing-press/ 

From the Desk of Tim Prouty, Educator Printing Press lessons

Collection Curiosities by Olivia Spratt

A metal lunch pail like this one would have been used by mill workers to carry their meal for the day. Similar to many lunch boxes you can purchase today, everything comes apart to reveal multiple compartments. On top, the cap doubles as a cup. Inside, there are two removable trays that would have held different parts of the meal. Keep an eye out for this cool piece of history in our orientation exhibit!

A singular metal lunch pail used by mill workers during the industrial revolution
Collection Curiosities by Olivia Spratt - metal lunch pail from industrial revolution

31 Ray Street
Webster, MA 01570


Friday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Sunday: Noon – 4 p.m.

Latest Admission is 3 p.m.

Average tour time: 1.5 hours

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