Past Exhibitions

Cheers to 250 Years!

A History of T. Keeler's Inn, Tavern, and Store

October 22, 2022 – April 23, 2023
Gilbert Wng

This exhibit commemorates the 250th anniversary of the opening of Timothy Keeler's successful business enterprises: T. Keeler's Inn, popularly called Keeler's Tavern, and his general store.

Cheers to 250 Years! explores how people were connected during the colonial and early republic periods, nationally and internationally, through the lens of Timothy Keeler's tavern and store in colonial and early republic Ridgefield (1772-1800). Colonial Ridgefield was not isolated from the rest of the global economy and was not an entirely self-sufficient small town. Keeler's tavern, as a gathering place located at the convergence of two major travel routes, acted as a gateway between Ridgefield and the rest of New England. In the tavern, locals and travelers alike could socialize, conduct business, and share ideas.

In his home, Timothy Keeler also operated a general store, which, like his tavern, acted as a connection to the wider world, selling goods from far-flung places: tea from China, chocolate from South American, sugar and molasses from the Caribbean. Though Keeler's participation in this economy meant he could provide desired products for his customers, the exhibit examines how his participation was also active complicity in the enslavement of Africans and the international slave trade.

Cheers to 250 Years is generously sponsored by The Fountain Inn, Martha Campbell in memory of David Campbell, Nicholas Donofrio, Judi Pankenier, Joel Third, Brian Truskowski & Terry McManus, Annette & Dan O’Brien, and Cheryl Crowl. Thank you!

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