Keeler Notes: What’s in a name?

When is a tavern not a tavern?

The answer: when it’s actually a museum.

From our very beginning in 1966 as Keeler Tavern Museum, and despite strenuous efforts, people have shorthanded the name, leaving out the “museum” part. One result: We still receive occasional calls inquiring about dinner reservations, something this establishment hasn’t been able to accommodate for well over a century.

So why we are beginning our next 50 years by doubling down with a new identity and a new logotype: Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center? Because it’s who we are.

What began as a single treasured building is now a lively 3.8-acre campus, including a prospective new Visitors Center. What originated with tours of a house museum has expanded to include full-day, immersive learning experiences for schoolchildren from across Fairfield County — and beyond. What started with a cannonball and three-cornered hats is now a unique window on three centuries of the American experience.

Our iconic Revolutionary-era horse and rider has long been — and remains — central to our identity. In our new logotype, he is moving beyond the boundaries of his familiar tavern sign, and so have we: into narratives of the Industrial Revolution, the Civil War, and the Gilded Age. They all were part of life here, and our new identity is an invitation to explore their meaning.