Keeler Tavern Museum Capital Campaign

The Project

A Window on Our National Experience

Keeler Tavern Preservation Society was established in 1966 by a few visionaries who recognized Keeler Tavern as one of the most historically resonant sites between Hartford and the Hudson Valley. When in 2016 KTMHC purchased the adjacent property at 152 Main Street, it acted equally boldly to expand and innovate for today’s diverse visitors. Our 21st-century campus will be firmly grounded in our mission to explore the lives and events here that offer a window on our shared national experience—past, present, and future—to establish and sustain a democratic republic.

Transforming Your Visit
A dynamic new visitor experience

Phase 1 of our campus master plan will be fulfilled later in 2018, when the repurposed “Brick House” at 152 Main Street opens as KTMHC’s Visitor Center. You’ll park your car next to the Visitor Center and enter its lobby, where you’ll show your membership card or pay admission and receive an orientation to the site’s offerings. You might linger in the space before you set out on a self-guided or docent-led tour. Themed tours will give you options for exploring the three centuries of history here. You might view an exhibition in the Cass Gilbert Carriage Barn, browse our Museum Shop, or stroll in our brick-walled formal garden.

Phase 2 will support KTMHC’s full transformation from a house museum to a regional history center, offering new options for experiencing more of our site’s stories via digital delivery systems that complement our docent-led tours and programs.

Click points on the map for details about each piece of the project.

Rose Garden Oasis
Visitors’ exploration of the expanded site will lead them to Julia Gilbert’s secluded brick-walled rose garden.
Carriage Barn Upgrades
Creative solutions for restrooms and second-floor access will enable more varied use of this Cass Gilbert structure, which already hosts art shows, school programs and exhibitions.
Landmark Fountain at Ridgefield’s Southern Gateway
Sited at the intersection of Routes 35 and 33, the fountain was donated to the town by Cass Gilbert in 1916. KTMHC was once the renowned architect’s summer estate.
A Taste of Colonial Life
A reconstructed 1740 home evoking 18th-century New England farm life, from herbs to hearth cooking
Reimagining Keeler Tavern
With offices relocated, the Keeler Tavern’s historic rooms—and the tours of them—will be re-thought to more effectively interpret past residents’ life stories and their relevance to today.
A Gracious Welcome
The new Visitor Center welcomes visitors with expanded options for orientation, admission, tours, refreshments and restrooms. Offices will be upstairs and archival collections in the basement.
A Reimagined Visitor Experience
A visit to KTMHC tells three centuries of a town’s—and nation’s—history through the lives of its residents. 
Expanded Site Parking
Eighteen dedicated, convenient spaces at the new Visitor Center, the site’s new entry point
Expanded Museum Shop
Doubling in size, the Museum Shop’s selection aims to please shoppers looking for unique high-quality, Museum-inspired items.
Brick Terrace Upgrades
Lower-level upgrades will provide a larger catering kitchen and improved restrooms for programs and events held in the Cass Gilbert-designed Garden House and on the above terrace.
Elegance Preserved
The Garden House designed by Cass Gilbert continues to provide a multipurpose space for programs and events.

Empowering the Next Generation
Educational enrichment for students across the spectrum

In the past three years, KTMHC has more than tripled, to 2,000, the numbers of students coming here annually for school programs. In Phase 1, the expanded campus will allow us to more easily accommodate the 75 to 90 students per day who rotate through immersive, interactive sessions in pop-up classrooms throughout the campus—in the Garden House, Carriage Barn, outdoor spaces, and now the Visitor Center lobby.

Generous corporate and individual donors have stepped forward to help subsidize Danbury and Bridgeport students’ visits here. In Phase 2, additional campus features (e.g., a heritage garden, an orchard, open-hearth cooking), expanded archive research capabilities, and more versatile ways to tell our site’s—and nation’s—stories will enable KTMHC to welcome 3,000 students each year from the region’s diverse communities.