Keeler In The Community

KTM&HC’s #HandsOnHistory Interactive Exhibition Opens Next Week!

August 11, 2023

Ridgefield, Conn.— Get ready to get hands-on with Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center’s historic tool collection! #HandsOnHistory, the annual interactive exhibit and program series that encourages visitors to “please touch,” is starting earlier than ever. The exhibition, located in the historic carriage barn, opens this Wednesday, August 16 and runs through Sunday, November 5. Family talks – featuring special guest experts and demonstrations – will begin on weekends in October, and visitors can get FREE site admission every Sunday from October 1 to November 5.

#HandsOnHistory is one of KTM&HC’s signature programs: a series of rotating, interactive exhibits that showcase objects from the museum’s extensive tool collection and explore intersections of history, science, and technology. This year, #HandsOnHistory’s theme is Living Off the Land, exploring the agricultural heritage of Ridgefield through the tools farmers used in the 18th and 19th centuries to produce food for their families and community. The exhibit follows the farming cycle, from preparing soil to planting seeds to harvesting and processing crops. And importantly, this exhibition considers the impact that dramatic climate and weather fluctuations had locally – making connections between historic and present-day conditions and concerns about living in a changing climate.

#HandsOnHistory: Living Off the Land is not your usual museum exhibit! Farm tools are built to be used, so the exhibit encourages visitors of all ages to do just that: tools labeled with “TRY ME” signs have movable parts and functions that anyone can test out, from corn shellers to oat cleaners. It also features self-directed activities stationed throughout the exhibit – more great opportunities for hands-on exploration of how science and history overlap. Test soil for acidity and nutrients; figure out the best time to plant potatoes with a moon calendar; and dive deeper into how farmers are affected by the weather with our Game of Life. Will your crops survive the year, or will drought dry up all your corn?

There’s so much to do at Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center, and #HandsOnHistory is a great way to learn about some of the fascinating history of our site, town, and region. Be sure to head down to the red carriage barn and explore this exciting exhibit, open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays from August 16 to November 5, with FREE site admission every Sunday. Onsite parking is available at 152 Main Street in Ridgefield. Get tickets at School and youth groups can also book educator-led tours of the exhibit free of charge: email for more information.