February 1, 2010
by Jennifer Barnett Fox
Russell T. (Russ) Bundy is a well-known figure in the baking industry and an inaugural inductee to the Baking Hall of Fame. His reputation is built on integrity, respect and a desire to use the lessons of history to improve the future. Mr. Bundy’s longevity and love of the baking industry and history has resulted in The Bundy Museum of the Baking Arts. Housed at Bundy Baking Solutions headquarters in Urbana, OH, the museum’s remarkable and unrivaled collection of baking memorabilia carefully preserves baking’s glorious past and provides an ongoing inspiration to everyone involved in the future of baking.
"The baking industry has drastically changed through expansion, transportation and technology, and I want modern bakers to experience the art, equipment and bakery marketing that have shaped the industry," Mr. Bundy said. "I believe in preserving the past and never forgetting those who paved the way for growth, freedom and innovation."
The museum opens with a tribute to wholesale bakeries of the past. The hallway leading to the museum is lined with engraved plaques of shuttered bakeries that were once a vital part of the industry. Organized by state, this display ensures their memory will be kept alive for future generations.
Beyond the hall lies a Smithsonian-worthy collection of some of the baking industry’s finest memorabilia. The museum contains neon and mechanical bakery signs, original artwork, refurbished baking equipment and a variety of baking-related collectibles. "I collect memorabilia with a respect to the past and a desire to share with the industry," he said.
The collection highlights the introduction of pre-sliced bread and the lunch pail era of the 1920s and 1930s. During this time, an ever-growing number of workers carried sandwiches to work, and wholesale bakeries flourished as a result. As sliced bread became a household staple, so did the marketing to promote it.
Additionally, the museum features horse-drawn buggies and early delivery trucks that carried the first commercial baked products; turn-of-the-century sifters, ovens, iceboxes and early refrigerators; household products such as brooms labeled with the bakery logos; and metal door "push" signs branded with bakery names. The museum also showcases refurbished oil paintings featuring Esther Williams, Kathryn Grayson and Janet Leigh enjoying a sandwich with the iconic SunBeam girl. Many items in the vast collection contain both a story and a memory for Mr. Bundy.
Interspersed among the collectibles is a replica of the Baking Hall of Fame located at the American Institute of Baking in Manhattan, KS, of which Mr. Bundy was an inaugural inductee. The museum also features a wall of photographs of those who helped Mr. Bundy get started in the baking industry and influenced his business and personal philosophies.
"Through the friendship and generosity of these individuals I learned the importance of investing in one’s business, including people and taking pride in the work we perform," he said. "I also realized the value of strong ethics and the benefits of producing American-made products."
The museum is currently housed on the Bundy campus in a 3-story refurbished building that was originally part of the Henry Fox & Co. Woolen Mill. The third floor of the museum is set to open in summer. The museum is open exclusively to members of the baking industry, friends and family. To view the museum, call (937) 652-2151.