Liberty Hall Museum’s annual Easter egg hunt

UNION, NJ — It was a picture-perfect day for an Easter egg hunt.
Liberty Hall Museum’s annual Easter egg hunt was held on its 23-acre campus, located on the grounds of Kean University, on Saturday, March 26.

Bill Schroh. Jr., director of museum operations, said the popular event is sold out every year.
“We’ve been doing the hunt for six or seven years, and each year it’s sold out,” said Schroh. “People start making reservations in January.”

The event is limited to 400 kids, and the day is split into four sessions throughout the day.
“There are a hundred children per session,” said Schroh. “People like the smallness of it.”

According to Schroh, candy-filled plastic eggs are hidden by volunteers — mostly Kean University students — throughout the grounds. “We spend a month filling 4,000 eggs,” Schroh said. “We’re really into recycling. We ask people to put used eggs into our big basket so we can reuse them for next year.”

Once the hunt begins, the excited egg-hunters and their parents take off down a wide gravel stone path that leads to a wide expanse of emerald lawns dotted with dogwood and cherry-blossom trees, flowers and other plantings. The colorful eggs are scattered across the lawn, beneath trees, and hidden under bushes and inside flowerbeds. The kids scramble to collect their eggs, then head off down another path to greet the Easter Bunny.

Kean University student Michelle Fitzula, of Linden, said she’s been coming back to volunteer at the event for three years. “I love it,” said Fitzula. “It’s a good way to spend a Saturday. I love seeing the kids all dressed up.”

Lacey Bongard, coordinator of museum programs, said she has enjoyed running the program for the last five years.
“I love seeing all the kids dressed up and with their Easter baskets,” she said.

The Easter Bunny is the main attraction, and the kids wait anxiously for him to make his grand entrance. Bongard muses that while some of the kids get excited when the Easter Bunny arrives, others may react differently.

“Lots of the kids have really amusing reactions to the Easter Bunny,” said Bongard. “Some kids — usually the younger ones — have cried when the Easter Bunny has shown up.”.

Jeanne Gregory, a Union resident, said she’s been bringing her kids to the hunt for four years.
“It’s really pretty here,” said Gregory of the lush grounds. “There’s always some fun games and it’s a great photo opportunity. My kids think that this is where the Easter Bunny lives. Every time we come here, my kids say it’s the Easter Bunny’s house.”

Oneida Lebron was there with her two granddaughters, Christina and Miranda.
“We like the Easter egg hunt,” said Christina, 7. “You can find a bunch of things inside the eggs like chocolate, stickers and stamps.”

Liberty Hall Museum has an illustrious past which dates back to the Colonial era. The 50-room Georgian-style house in which the museum is housed was built in 1772 by William Livingston, a prominent lawyer who, in 1776, became the first elected governor of New Jersey. Livingston, who was a signer of the United States Constitution, would serve as governor for 14 years.

In 1811, the estate was purchased by Peter Kean, in trust for his mother, Susan Livingston Kean Niemcewicz, Gov. Livingston’s niece, and the Kean family lived there until 1995. The estate, which is now a National Historic Landmark, was turned into a museum in 2000.

For more information about Liberty Hall Museum, visit http://www.kean.edu/libertyhall/.

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