Liberty Hall Museum
Built in 1772 by New Jersey’s first governor, William Livingston View More
If you’re a history buff and you’re looking for things to do in Elizabeth, NJ, consider visiting the campus of Kean University, a public university with an incredibly rich history dating back to 1855. Here are some of the sites on campus, located less than 10 minutes from the heart of Elizabeth, that you won’t want to miss when you come to visit.
Kean’s Liberty Hall campus in Union, New Jersey is the home of the historic Liberty Hall Museum. The Liberty Hall Mansion was built by New Jersey’s first governor, William Livingston, in 1772. Today, the museum showcases 240 years of American history, and features vast collections of furniture, ceramics, and textiles that belonged to the Livingston and Kean families. It also has a Firehouse Museum on site, which houses three antique fire engines from the early 20th century.
Liberty Hall is known for its beautiful gardens featuring many varieties of trees and flowers, including a 240-year-old Horse Chestnut tree, which is one of the oldest trees in New Jersey. Liberty Hall Museum offers public tours from April through December, where visitors can explore the rooms of the mansion, enjoy refreshments on the glass-enclosed porch, and tour the beautifully manicured gardens.
Kean Stage strives to bring its audiences high-quality arts programs and productions that reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of the Central Jersey region. These programs give New Jersey residents affordable access to the arts, provide opportunities for the university and local community to come together, and enrich the lives of students in the area. Kean Stage attracts top performers from both the United States and abroad, including the New Jersey Ballet, the Russian National Ballet, and the Orquesta Sinfonica del Estado de Mexico. Some Kean Stage events include ballet productions of "Cinderella" and "The Nutcracker," concerts and orchestra performances, and an international film series.
The majestic Kean Hall resembles a castle and is one of the most famous historical sites on the entire campus. It was designed to be a striking example of Norman architecture, a style that was developed in France in the 11th and 12th centuries. Senator Hamilton Fish Kean, who inherited the land from his father, commissioned this structure in 1915 and used it as part of Green Lane Dairy Farms.
Inside, the hall houses Senator Kean’s private library, which features stained glass windows and extensive paneling built with oak from England’s Nottingham Forest. Senator Kean was known to hold many political meetings in this library. In 1954, Senator Kean’s son Robert Kean sold the farm and the library to the state of New Jersey to serve as the new location of Newark State Teachers College, which was renamed Kean College. Today, this incredible building is open to Kean students and faculty and to visitors who come to campus to marvel at Kean Hall’s history and architecture.
If exploring the past is one of your favorite vacation activities, don’t miss Kean University and the many historic sites throughout Elizabeth.