For much of its history, Ridgefield was a farming community, however, no family farm could be entirely self-sufficient. Members of the community developed specialized trades to accommodate the needs of a growing village, and by the turn of the 19th century, the nature of Ridgefield’s Main Street shifted to reflect this new market. Small enterprises had sprung up all over town, and by 1820, roughly one-third of Ridgefielders were engaged in some type of manufacturing.
This award-wining exhibition explores the interdependency of farms, families, and businesses across Ridgefield’s history – showcasing individual trades and their tools. An online exhibit—combining maps, narrative text, and multimedia content—takes visitors on a virtual tour of the businesses on Ridgefield’s 19th-Century Main Street.
In addition, there is a curated display of featured trades on-site in the Carriage Barn, where visitors can learn more about Ridgefield’s trades through the tools that were used. All hands-on elements have been removed in compliance with COVID-19 protocols. Pre-registration with timed entries for groups of up to 8 people is required to visit the exhibition in the Carriage Barn. Click here to register.
As in previous years, family demonstrations will be offered outdoors on weekends, including blacksmithing on October 25 (visit this page for details, tbd). School groups and other “cohorts” are encouraged to make a special reservation for a guided tour of the Carriage Barn.
Additionally, a series of virtual Zoom talks is planned on topics such as tavern tastings, a history of medicine and pandemics, and the boom and bust of economic cycles in Connecticut’s past.