Doug Mund concedes that museums “can be boring.” That is why the award-winning museum planner and exhibit designer spent more than four years working on the Samuel Slater Experience, a historic museum in Webster that features state-of-the-art, 4-D digital technology to tell the story of the English-born industrialist known as the “Father of the American Industrial Revolution.” The museum, located in a former National Guard armory building and opened in March, features more than 20 unique, immersive experiences that transport visitors to the early 1800s as the seeds of the American Industrial Revolution were sown. A scaled-back replica of the ship on which Slater sailed to America, and authentic artifacts, like a trolley from the 19th century, are on display. “One of the first things [museum founder] Chris Robert said to me was that he wants to get young learners interested in history,” Mund, 64, said. “And that’s what we’ve tried to do. I don’t think you’ll find another museum that [shows] how the Industrial Revolution really started and tells it in such an interesting and entertaining way.” Mund, who was born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., lived in Groveland, for nearly 40 years before moving to Savannah, Ga., in 2016 with his wife, Anneliese Seitz-Mund, a middle school special education teacher, who died three years ago. We caught up with Mund, who has two adult children who live in Savannah, to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination? Oberammergau, Germany. It has spectacular landscapes, and is an area my wife and I would go often. Also, it was a wonderful place to travel when our kids were young. One really great experience we had there was when my wife and I decided to skip a planned outing and ended up traveling up to a small church, way out of town. When we got there, we heard organ music coming from the inside. It was the church organist practicing for the Sunday service. We were greeted and we sat for an hour listening to the beautiful music. Another favorite is St. Barths. We went on our honeymoon and every year after for 30 years — sometimes a few times a year. Great to have “greenies” [Heineken] on the beach!
Favorite food or drink while vacationing? Definitely beer. So many different styles of beer throughout the world — and America as well. Wine is the backup.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t? Nowhere right now or in the future. The love of my life has recently passed after she and I were fighting her cancer and I am not interested in travel right now. She and I traveled throughout Europe and the West Indies.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling? Cash.
Aisle or window? Definitely aisle, for easy get-in and get-out. Also, so you can stand up as soon as the seat sign goes off after landing.
Favorite childhood travel memory? Pine Beach, N.J. My aunt and uncle had a small cottage near Toms River and our family would go there for a two-week vacation every summer. My father had polio and was paralyzed from the chest down. He never, ever complained and always tried to do everything. I can remember him dragging himself from the beach blanket into the water and floating for hours.
Guilty pleasure when traveling? Drinking and eating too much.
Best travel tip? Plan as much as you can for the bigger stuff, but always allow for the unexpected and be able to adjust plans to see and experience the best of each culture.