Ridgefield’s Keeler Tavern Museum offers history camp with virtual and on-site programs
Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center’s history summer camp will be conducted online, and then offer afternoons of organized outdoor games on-site that follow strict social distancing guidelines.
The goal is to bring history to life for people around their kitchen tables and in their back yards. The whole family can now join in on educational activities that will be beamed into homes, from Connecticut to California and across the nation.
As an extension to the core program, Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center will also offer afternoons of organized outdoor games on the Keeler Tavern grounds in Ridgefield every Wednesday from 1-3 p.m. Games will strictly follow state and town guidelines for social distancing, sanitizing, and disinfecting. Parents may drop off children, stay and join the activities, or relax under a (socially distanced) tent set up in the walled garden (which is off limits for the kids’ games).
Three week-long sessions for different age groups will be offered. Each session includes daily live interactions with the camp director and other campers.
Campers will receive pre-packaged kits containing all materials and instructions for the week’s theme — crafts with easy step-by-step instructions, worksheets, recipes, songs, links to related videos. Some crafts will use materials that can be found at home; other craft projects will be sent as a complete kit with either written or “live” instructions during a morning Zoom call.
Campers will also get a Keeler Kids T-shirt.
Daily live sessions with the camp directors will be over Zoom from 9:30-11:30 a.m. The length of these live sessions will be tailored to age group and daily activities. Campers will be encouraged to wear their Keeler Kids T-shirts during the live session as a way to “bond virtually with each other. After the live session, campers can complete the day’s activities at their own pace.
The cost per child for each session is $150 for members and $165 for nonmembers. There is a sibling discount of $15 per child. (Note that sibling discounts will be applied automatically when registering online.)
The outdoor games option is an additional $25 per child/family for each session. Games are offered Wednesday afternoons, from 1-3 p.m. and will be run by Chris Browne (camp director for Session 1). Games will be set up across the Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center’s four-acre campus following strict distancing guidelines. Depending on the theme for each session, outdoor games will include 18th- and 19th-century games, such as hoops and grace as well as vintage baseball and croquet.
Age group sessions
Session 1, for kids in grades 1-3, is called “Timothy Keeler’s Tavern in Colonial Days.”
Browne, a Newtown teacher, and fellow historians will lead kids in activities designed to teach them about daily life in Colonial Connecticut and the role that children played. Life was different back then, and campers will learn how kids in a Colonial home had a large role in helping run the household.
The whole family can explore life in Colonial times, craft homemade toys and treats that Colonial kids would have enjoyed, and learn about the life and times of Timothy Keeler’s Tavern. Browne will also lead a virtual livestreamed tour of his little hen hutch with baby ducklings, chicks, and turkeys.
Session 2, for grades 4-6, focuses on “Cass Gilbert and the Age of Skyscrapers.”
Campers will role-play junior apprentices in Mr. Cass Gilbert’s architectural firm as Mr. F. W. Woolworth, the noted businessman, expresses interest in constructing a new headquarters building for his company in New York City — an impressive building, taller than any other in Manhattan, with all the latest technological features. The junior apprentices will create their own designs for the project, which will be presented on the last day of camp. Throughout the week, junior apprentice architects will learn how skyscrapers are designed so they don't blow over, as well as the latest in 1910s building technology, architectural styles and their features.
Session 3, for students in grades 7 and older, will look at “Costuming and Set Design in the Age of the Silver Screen.”
Participants will act as filmmakers and directors and create a film based on the silent movies of the 1890s-1920s. After studying the work of Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, and others, they will choose the genre of the film, develop the story line and characters, and create the sets in which it takes place. They will shoot and edit a movie and premiere it at the “Keeler Kids Independent Film Festival” on the last day of camp for the other directors and their families to see.
To register, visit keelertavernmuseum.org.