Visit NJ’s Newest Arboretum at Kean University

Liberty Hall, on Kean University's campus, has been designated as an arboretum by ArbNet, the only global initiative to officially recognize arboreta based on a set of professional standards.
Courtesy of Kean University

 Just in time for spring, Liberty Hall has been designated as an arboretum by the global organization ArbNet.

In order to become recognized as a Level II Arboretum, Liberty Hall satisfied stringent criteria including having a collection with a minimum of 100 species, varieties or cultivars of trees or woody plants, as well as enhanced educational and public programming.

“There have been many moving components that helped turn this idea into another part of Liberty Hall’s rich legacy, and we are thrilled to receive accreditation as an arboretum,” said Megan Couch, Liberty Hall’s newly appointed arboretum director. “The museum’s trees and plants will be labeled, providing an interactive experience for our visitors.”

The Arboretum at Liberty Hall is home to some of the state’s most historically significant trees, including a horse chestnut planted in 1770 by the daughter of New Jersey’s first elected governor and Liberty Hall’s first resident, William Livingston. Bartlett and Seckel pear trees on the property also date from the 18th century. Liberty Hall’s storied history began in 1760 when Livingston, who would be elected governor in 1776, purchased a large tract of land in Elizabethtown, New Jersey, to take up farming and embrace country living. Livingston’s descendants, the Kean family, lived on the property until 1995.

As each generation of residents added to the exquisite planting schemes Livingston laid out, a truly unique garden took shape making Liberty Hall a living archive of over 250 years of American garden design. The grounds surrounding Liberty Hall underscore the Livingston and Kean families’ love of nature. Documents chronicling the history of the grounds have been preserved and archived by the family and continue to provide a guiding influence for present-day caretakers.

The Arboretum at Liberty Hall will open for tours starting Thursday, April 1. Open from April to December with guided and self-guided tour options, the museum continues to delight visitors from around the world in every season. For more information on tours and events, call Liberty Hall at (908) 527-0400 or visit libertyhall.kean.edu.

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