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Thomas H. Kean Reading Room and Gallery: Highlights

Highlights from the Thomas H. Kean Reading Room & Gallery

The Mural

A major work of art was commissioned for the Reading Room—a mural to evoke two major phases of the career of Governor Kean. The left side of the room-length panorama is the artist rendering of Mead Hall circa 1836, then known as the Gibbons Mansion. The right side portrays the New Jersey State House from the same period. The muralist is nationally recognized artist, Daniel Mulligan, whose studio is in Chester, New Jersey. His work has been featured on the covers of Traditional Home, House and Garden, and many other magazines.

The Portrait

As is the long-standing tradition at Drew, the trustees commissioned a portrait of Governor Kean to commemorate his presidency at Drew. They chose Everett Raymond Kinstler, an internationally known portrait artist, whose studios are in New York City and Connecticut. His work hangs in the New Jersey State House and the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. He completed the portrait in the spring of 2011.

The Chandelier and Rug

The chandelier and rug are antiques that were part of the Kean Family home in Livingston, New Jersey.  Both the rug and chandelier date to the early 1900s. The wrought-iron chandelier is in the French style and the rug comes from Iran and the design is Sultanabad (farahan).

The Tapestry

A village scene, a hand-woven tapestry from Swaziland, was presented to Governor Kean by Coretta Scott King. President Kean gifted it to Drew University on Martin Luther King Day, January 15, 1990.

The Chair

The pulpit chair was on the bema at Temple B’nai Abraham in Newark, New Jersey, led by Rabbi Dr. Joachim Prinz. He and his friend, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., both sat in it at different times in the 1960s. Together they participated in the March on Washington D.C. in 1963. The chair was donated in honor of Governor Kean by Bernard Kuttner, who marched with Dr. King in the Civil Rights March in Selma, Alabama.

The Library features a semi-permanent exhibit honoring Thomas H. Kean, former governor of New Jersey (1982-1990) and president of Drew University (1990-2005), in the Thomas H. Kean Reading Room and Gallery.  The exhibit highlights items from the Governor Thomas H. Kean Collection, the Drew University Archives, and personal memorabilia belonging to the Governor, and includes material covering his role as chair of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (also known as the 9-11 Commission).

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