New Gilbert exhibition unveiled at Keeler Tavern

What do a Chinese silk robe and a Renaissance dress have to do with the Keeler Tavern? Both belonged to the Gilbert family and were worn at costume parties hosted by the family at the Cannon Ball House (formerly the Keeler Tavern). Both are on display in a new exhibition in the Gilberts’ time in Ridgefield, called At Home with the Gilberts, at Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center (KTM&HC).

The exhibition was created by the curatorial team of Karen McChesney, Erika Askin, and Catherine Prescott and features photographs, sketches by Cass (who seemed to draw on any paper at hand), and stunning costumes worn by members of the family. Also on display is the wedding dress of Julia (Judy) Post Bastedo, granddaughter of Cass and Julia. Judy’s wedding reception in 1943 was held in the Garden House.

Consistent with 2018’s town-wide commemoration of the WWI Centennial, the exhibition also features the Gilbert family’s contributions to the war effort. Cass was an outspoken advocate for the United States’ involvement in the war, and he offered his services as an architect — at no profit — to the government. Cass Gilbert Jr. served on the Western Front from 1918 to 1919 as a 2nd Lieutenant in the 17th Field Artillery regiment. Julia Gilbert and her daughters volunteered with the YMCA and other aid organizations. Julia also hosted Send-Offs, farewell teas for drafted Ridgefield doughboys, in her Garden House in Ridgefield.

At Home with the Gilberts can be seen at Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center through a guided tour of the historic house museum. The museum is open on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 1 to 4 p.m.

Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center,132 Main Street, presents three centuries of the region’s history through the lives of the families that occupied the site starting in 1713. It offers docent-led tours of its period-furnished tavern building February through December. More information at and at Additional parking at 152 Main Street.