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Museum Exhibits

The Samuel Slater Experience comprises more than twenty unique, immersive exhibits that make the history of the American Industrial Revolution and its people come alive. Here is a preview of a few of them.

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Orientation

Visitors learn about the beginnings of a mill economy, with examples of the spinning and weaving tools that predate the American Industrial Revolution.

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Meet young Samuel Slater in Belper England

Guests meet a young and conflicted Samuel Slater and his English boss Jedediah Strutt in an inventive immersive multimedia presentation. Is Slater a traitor for taking the Brits most valued manufacturing secrets?

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Samuel Slater’s Shipboard Immersive Theater Experience

Samuel Slater boards a nearly full-size ship replete with sails, rigging and stern fittings. The adventure begins with a life-sized hologram of Slater telling you his secret of knowing the Arkwright loom plans. Things go downhill fast when a storm blows up. You are pummeled with wind, sea spray, and lightning.

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Slater arrives in NYC - “Was that a rat I just saw?”

Yes, there are wharf rats that poke their heads out and run across the pier. Young Slater arrives in the US and it was not a pretty sight. This recreation of a New York wharf has sights, smells, and animated furry creatures.

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Slater settles in Rhode Island

In 1790, Samuel Slater constructs the first successful cotton spinning mill in America. Twenty years later he moves the Slater company to Oxford South Gore, in Massachusetts, to establish mills powered by the French River and Lake Chaubunagunggamaugg.

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“Master of Industry” - Samuel Slater’s office

Samuel Slater is known as the “Father of the American Industrial Revolution.” In his office guests learn about his savvy business acumen by exploring historic documents and ledgers on an interactive digital desktop. Touching the objects brings them to life with a narrated story by Slater and his colleagues.

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“A tough life” - Mill worker’s bedroom and kitchen

Slater believed that family members should ALL be part of his mill business. In these faithfully recreated rooms, visitors meet a family that works for Slater, including the youngest children. The meticulously researched stories unfold in a presentation that illustrates the difficult conditions that families faced.

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Waterwheel and Slater’s Mill

Guests explore Slater’s mill in detail. A full scale working waterwheel powers pulleys and machinery. Looms spin and an immersive video of mill workers, including children, are seen in life size tableaus as they labor under challenging conditions.

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“Create your own textile”

Visitors are challenged to design their own textile in this interactive hands-on experience. They select a pattern, add colors, a custom monogram, and see their creative handiwork come to life. They can then text or email their finished textile to themselves or others.

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Mill workers’ working life and community life

Rich graphics, images, and artifacts tell the stories of mill workers, their families, and other townspeople.

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“Why this Place?” Webster 1820 to 1900

Like so many other villages in New England, Webster was a town of immigrants. Guests can hear fascinating stories from a variety of local townspeople about early Webster. Samuel Slater and his son recount the continuing saga of the growing Slater textile empire. The multiscreen video presentation in this circular theatre is surrounded by artifacts of the era and stunning graphics and photos.

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Town of Webster Streetscape

The town of Webster comes to life with this multi-story replica of downtown Webster circa 1910. Historic buildings, including the Maanexit Hotel, The Liberty Theater, and the Webster Times are faithfully reproduced. Guests can feel the excitement of this quintessential turn-of-the-century town.

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The Trolley Car 4D Experience

When guests climb aboard the trolley, they get to ride down Webster’s Main Street on a virtual tour of the town on the way out to Webster Lake. Guests looking out one side see the town roll by, using immersive video projections. On the other side of the trolley guests see stories come to life in the windows of the Webster streetscape. The trolley rumbles and rocks, completing this 4D theatrical ride. 

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Maanexit Hotel

Step back in time to a simpler era. The Maanexit Hotel lobby tells the story of the weary travelers that were coming to Webster Lake to vacation.

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Maanexit Hotel Speakeasy

You want to know a secret? Well we cannot tell you unless you know the password. This secret doorway houses a fun surprise for those who can find it.

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The Liberty Theater interior

Sit and enjoy a silent movie circa 1903, enhanced by the music of the player piano and smell of popcorn.

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Webster Times interior

Want to know how a newspaper was put together? See how the presses were run and stories got told. Artifacts and working presses are all there.

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Make your own Webster Times newspaper

This inventive digital interactive display has guests producing their personal edition of the Webster Times. They choose the stories and can add their name into them. They set the type and print the virtual paper. They can then email or text this to others or themselves.

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Racicot Bros. general store

Explore all the latest in kitchen appliances, home furnishings, and coffees, teas, and spices from around world. They delivered too, with a horsedrawn cart. 

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Dugan’s Drug store

This modern drug store featured a compounding pharmacy, silk display, and soda fountain. The store also sold cigars, chocolates, candies and postcards. 

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Webster Then and Now

This engrossing six-minute video production looks at how Webster has changed after the mills ceased operations or left town. Local townspeople and historians tell the contemporary Webster story in their own words. The town has been through some ups and downs but today the future is bright, and it all started with Samuel Slater.

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31 Ray Street
Webster, MA 01570

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