Main House Tours:
In 1760, when lawyer William Livingston was planning to build a country home, he brought 120 acres in what was then sleepy bucolic Elizabethtown, just across the river from his New York home. For the next 12 years, Livingston developed the extensive grounds, gardens, orchards and oversaw the building of a beautiful fourteen room Georgian-style home known as Liberty Hall. William Livingston would go on to become New Jersey’s first elected governor and a signer of the U.S. Constitution.
William Livingston’s niece, Susan (Livingston) [Kean] Niemcewicz purchases the house in 1811 in which it will be become the Kean family household until 1995. The expands from Livingston’s fourteen room colonial home into the exquisite 50-room Victorian mansion you see today. The museum houses extensive collections of furniture, ceramics, textiles, toys and tools owned by seven generations of the Livingston and Kean families.
Liberty Hall Museum at Kean University chronicles more than 250 years of American and New Jersey history through the eyes of one family’s household.
This is an added option to your tour. Compromised of items inherited from the private collection of Stewart Barney Kean with a mission to promote fire safety and education for children and adults. Home to a unique collection of New Jersey firehouse memorabilia, including three historic engine, the Liberty Hall Firehouse Museum reveals how brave firefighters extinguished a blaze more than 200 years ago. Our three historic engines include: 1911 American LaFrance Metropolitan Steam Pumper, 1927 American LaFrance Fire Engine once owned by the City of Union, New Jersey, and 1928 Seagrave Fire Engine once owned by City of Elizabeth, New Jersey. There is also a 1950s Mack Firetruck housed outside the museum which can be played on.
History in the Bottle: This is our newest permanent exhibit at Liberty Hall. The exhibit displays the “best” of the alcohol collection- spirits, wines, and liquors from the Livingston and Kean families; including bottles of 18th century Lenox Madeira, a Portuguese wine favored by many founding fathers like George Washington and Alexander Hamilton. The exhibit shows the timeline of alcohol not only in the United States but the world using the collection found in the main house.
“How Long Must We Wait: Suffrage and Ladies of Liberty Hall” is set open the summer of 2020. This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. This exhibit will showcase the struggle of those ladies who created and catapulted the Suffrage movement to the forefront of the nations stage as well as those ladies who were anti-suffrage. How Long Must We Wait will also shed light on the strong willed ladies who lived at Liberty Hall. Many of these ladies going above and beyond their station and gender to make the world a better place.