Keeler In The Community

Program at KTM&HC to Feature Cheyney McKnight: “Designing the Black American Cultural Costume”

May 23, 2024

Ridgefield, Conn.— Tickets are now on sale for “Designing the Black American Cultural Costume” at Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center (KTM&HC) on Sunday, June 23. Artist and historical interpreter Cheyney McKnight will explore her creative process in designing garments in 18th- and 19th-century European American silhouettes, using fabrics that speak to experiences from throughout the African diaspora. Join us for this exciting program by one of the most innovative public historians in our region!

McKnight – a longtime KTM&HC collaborator – will share with audiences how the clothing she designs helps to tell the stories of Black Americans in the past, present, and future. Various garments will be on display to help bring McKnight’s work to life at an event that compellingly combines history, fashion, textile design, and futurism.

“This is a not-to-be-missed opportunity!” said KTM&HC Executive Director Hildegard Grob. “We’re excited for attendees to hear Cheyney share her deep insights into the Black experience as part of the American story, especially as reflected by her use of period clothing and fashion inspired by color and design of the African diaspora. An intellectually stimulating talk paired with visually stunning textiles.”

McKnight is the owner of Not Your Momma’s History, a public history consulting business that aids museums and historical sites in talking about the African experience in 18th- and 19th-century America. Not Your Momma’s History also runs a YouTube channel with over 200,000 subscribers and four million views that shows the day-to-day lives of Black people throughout American history.

McKnight has taken her “Let’s Talk About Slavery” table to over thirty parks, historical sites, and public events across America to provide a safe place for people to learn and talk about the history of slavery. And in 2021, she was chosen to be an African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund Fellow for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Her project, titled The Ancestor’s Future: An Afrofuturist Journey Through History, was both a piece of performance art and a conversation inspired by Afrofuturism about the future of historic preservation on former sites of enslavement.

This in-person event will be held in KTM&HC’s Garden House on Sunday, June 23 at 3 p.m. Parking is available onsite at 152 Main Street, Ridgefield. General admission is $25/person, with discounts available for KTM&HC members and students. Purchase tickets here.