#HandsOnHistory month at the Keeler Tavern begins Oct. 8

#HandsOnHistory month returns this October at the Keeler Tavern Museum’s Carriage Barn.

For a second year, Keeler is showcasing its extensive collection of tools from the late 18th to early 20th centuries in a special exhibition, “It Takes a Village,” from Sunday, Oct. 8 through Sunday, Oct. 29.

No sooner than Ridgefield was founded, craftsmen began establishing businesses along Main Street and throughout the village to accommodate the needs of the growing community. By the early 19th century, small enterprises had popped up all over town, and by 1820, roughly one-third of Ridgefielders were engaged in some type of manufacturing.

In the interactive exhibition, “It Takes a Village,” visitors will discover the tools of the trade for a variety of the businesses that lined Ridgefield’s Main Street in the 18th and 19th centuries. They will also be able to explore early daybooks and ledgers to learn about the trade and barter transactions that were the economic drivers of early Ridgefield.

KTHC will host free, family-friendly workshops and talks on three Sundays from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. On October 8, Alec Jordan, furniture maker and artist of Jordan Woodworks, will show visitors the traditional woodworking techniques he uses to create contemporary furniture. October 22, will feature Alan Horowitz and Ralph Lapidus, from Colonial Blacksmithing, will demonstrate 18th century blacksmithing. On October 29, visitors will learn about one of early Ridgefield’s most popular occupations, shoemaking, with John Jenner of the Sherman Historical Society.

The exhibition is open during regular museum hours, Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 1:00 to 4:00 pm, October 8 to 29. School and youth groups can schedule free guided tours of the exhibition, Monday through Friday, October 9 to November 3, by calling the Museum office at 203-438-5485 or emailing education@keelertavernmuseum.org. Admission to the special exhibition and Sunday workshops is free thanks to generous underwriting by Downtown Ridgefield, the Ridgefield Women’s Club, Wadsworth Lewis Fund, IBM Corporation Community Grants. The exhibition is also made possible thanks to KTHC partners, including Ridgefield Historical Society, Wilton Historical Society, Sherman Historical Society, Paul Scribner, Joel Third, and John Somma. Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center is located at 132 Main Street, Ridgefield, CT.