museums&MORE Spring 2016
Barry Levenson

Founder & Curator Barry Levenson
National Mustard Museum
Middleton, Wisconsin

MM: What do you enjoy most about your job?

I love to see people laughing with us, enjoying themselves in an improbable museum that doesn’t take itself too seriously. We are a real museum and people do learn about mustard but they have a good time doing so.

MM: Does anything you learned from working for the Wisconsin Attorney General’s office apply to what you do now? 

I was head of the Criminal Appeals Division, so I learned that you don’t want to mess around on the edges of the law, especially now that the only lawyer there with a sense of humor left 25 years ago.

MM: What do you wish you had known about being a retailer before you got started?

Everything! Retail is a learn-as-you-go process and you just hope the mistakes you make are not too costly and that you learn from them. I wish I had known then that it’s important to employ people smarter than you — and let them do their jobs.

MM: What is your top-selling mustard? 

Slimm & Nunne’s Sweet & Nicely Hot Mustard is by far our bestseller. After tasting hundreds of mustards over the years (maybe more than a thousand) and listening to our visitors, I figured out what people like and had a top mustard producer make this one for us. I never get tired of it and neither do our visitors. Several area stores and even shops outside of Wisconsin sell it, too. It’s that good!

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