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Giants, Dragons & Unicorns on Display at Kean University

originally published: 10/19/2023

Giants, Dragons & Unicorns on Display at Kean University

Photo Credit: Mami Wata @AMNH

(UNION, NJ) -- Giants, Dragons & Unicorns: The World of Mythic Creatures, an exhibition that traces the natural and cultural roots of some of the world’s most exciting mythic creatures, has come to Kean University to inspire and delight. It will be on display through Sunday, February 25, 2024 in the Liberty Hall Academic Center Gallery.

Organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York, Giants, Dragons & Unicorns: The World of Mythic Creatures features unique cultural objects highlighting the surprising similarities and differences in the ways people around the world envision and depict mythic creatures. The exhibition includes models and cast fossils of prehistoric animals to investigate how they could have – through misidentification, speculation, fear or imagination – inspired the development of several legendary creatures.

“Hosting this fun, interactive, educational exhibition at Kean is a wonderful opportunity for the Galleries to connect with the community through storytelling,” said Lynette Zimmerman, Ed.D., executive director of the Liberty Hall Academic Center and the Galleries at Kean.

Visitors will discover how narwhal tusks were believed to be magical remnants of unicorn horns, how dinosaur fossils may have been mistaken for the remains of griffins, and how tales of sea monsters may simply have been fisherman’s tales of real creatures such as the oarfish and giant squid.

Exhibition highlights include a stunning vibrant sculpture of the African water spirit Mami Wata; a “life-size” model of a European unicorn; and a dramatic model of a kraken, whose tentacles appear to rise out of the floor as if surfacing from the sea.

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Visitors are invited to participate in activities like rearranging scale models of mammoth bones to look like a giant human skeleton. In an engaging digital interactive display, visitors can build their own dragon and watch as it comes alive in a virtual environment. The exhibition also includes several video interviews with experts in various fields discussing the significance of mythic creatures and their possible real-life counterparts.

Giants, Dragons & Unicorns on Display at Kean University

Photo Credit: Kraken @AMNH

Giants, Dragons & Unicorns: The World of Mythic Creatures is an engaging exhibit that delivers a great experience for our community and continues to position Kean University as a cultural hub in the region,” Zimmerman said.

Giants, Dragons & Unicorns: The World of Mythic Creatures will be on display through Sunday, February 25, 2024 in the Liberty Hall Academic Center Gallery, 1003 Morris Avenue, Building 2, Union, New Jersey. Visit for more information.

Giants, Dragons & Unicorns: The World of Mythic Creatures is organized by the American Museum of Natural History, New York.

The American Museum of Natural History, founded in 1869 with a dual mission of scientific research and science education, is one of the world’s preeminent scientific, educational, and cultural institutions. The Museum encompasses more than 40 permanent exhibition halls, galleries for temporary exhibitions, the Rose Center for Earth and Space including the Hayden Planetarium, and the Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education, and Innovation. The Museum’s scientists draw on a world-class permanent collection of more than 34 million specimens and artifacts, some of which are billions of years old, and on one of the largest natural history libraries in the world. Through its Richard Gilder Graduate School, the Museum offers two of the only free-standing, degree-granting programs of their kind at any museum in the U.S.: the Ph.D. program in Comparative Biology and the Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Earth Science residency program.

Kean University, New Jersey’s urban research university, is a national institution of higher education recognized for its diversity, innovation and the social mobility of its graduates. Founded in 1855 as a teachers college, Kean has evolved into a thriving research university that supports students as they persist to graduation, give back to their communities and launch successful careers. Kean’s six colleges offer more than 50 undergraduate programs, six doctoral degree programs and more than 70 options leading to master’s degrees, professional diplomas or certifications, across a full range of academic subjects. With campuses in Union, Toms River and Manahawkin, New Jersey, and Wenzhou, China, as well as Kean Online, the University provides students of all backgrounds an affordable and accessible world-class education.

The Galleries at Kean hosts over a dozen exhibitions each academic year by professional artists, traveling exhibitions, faculty shows and student work across six galleries and one exhibition hall on Kean University’s main campus in Union, New Jersey. Known for its diverse array of artists and mediums, the Galleries' mission is to build awareness of critical global issues through the visual arts.

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