Museum discovers lost wines almost as old as the country itself

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  1. Disir
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    A restoration project at Liberty Hall Museum's wine cellar unearthed spirits 221 years old that had been shipped to the sleepy Elizabethtown cottage shortly after the American Revolution.

    During the six-month revamp, the museum discovered almost three cases of Madeira wine from 1796 and about 42 demijohns from the 1820s.

    Some of the original Madeira stock was shipped to the second generation who lived at Liberty Hall, in anticipation of John Adams' presidency. Although Liberty Hall President John Kean was well aware of the wine collection, he couldn't have imagined its historical significance.

    "We knew there was a lot of liquor down here, but we had no idea as to the age of it," said Kean, first cousin to New Jersey's former governor. "I think the most exciting part of it was to find liquor, or Madeira in this case, that goes back so far. And then trying to trace why it was here and who owned it."

    Liberty Hall is located at Kean University, which was founded in 1855 and is one of New Jersey's largest state colleges. The 150-acre campus enrolls about 13,000 students each year, and is best known for its teaching program.

    Whether it's telling the story of the Civil War or an esteemed visit by President William Howard Taft in 1909, the goal of the renovation is to walk visitors through every era of American history, said Bill Schroh Jr., director of operations at Liberty Hall.

    "And Madeira was just one piece of that whole story," he said.

    The project began in October 2015, and included an overhaul of the museum's wine cellar, rebuilding the antique wine racks and cataloguing the historic find. Although the monetary value of Liberty Hall's Madeira cannot be made public, its the largest known collection in the United States and one of the most extensive in the world.
    What a find: Museum discovers lost wines almost as old as the country itself

    This is actually pretty cool.
     
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