Experiencing the battle

This past week, on May 9, we welcomed some 50 seventh grade students from John Winthrop School in Bridgeport. For the second year in a row, students came to search for answers to the question “Who was victorious in the Battle of Ridgefield?” The students spent the day rotating among three stations, including the museum, where they watched scenes performed by costumed actors; the Garden House, where they examined original source documents; and the Carriage Barn, where they learned about a soldier’s life and got a hands-on lesson on treating disease and wounds on the battlefield.
Although a tactical victory for the British — after all, they vastly outnumbered the hastily assembled militia forces, easily demolished the barricade, and torched multiple houses, including Keeler’s Tavern — the Battle of Ridgefield turned out to be a strategic victory for the colonies seeking independence. The British never again attempted to invade inland Connecticut and had to realize that these so-called rebels were a force to be reckoned with.
The goal of this full-day program was to use key source documents and narratives from the museum’s collection about the Battle of Ridgefield to teach students that oftentimes there are different perspectives on the same historic event, depending on who’s telling the story.
The success of the John Winthrop School’s visit was due, in part, to the generosity of KTHC’s supporters, whose donations allowed us to offer reduced fees and helped to cover the cost of busing, to ensure that all the students would have the opportunity to participate in the field trip.

Catherine Prescott

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