Lori Schlenker
KU Biodiversity Institute

Family-friendly event kicks off museum's efforts to replace iconic grotesques

Fri, 06/08/2018

LAWRENCE – Combining the old arts of stonecraft and sketching with modern 3-D imaging, the University of Kansas Natural History Museum is launching an effort to replace its iconic grotesques. 

The mythical beasts that adorned Dyche Hall were removed in fall 2017, crated and placed on view in the museum. The fantastical limestone animals have suffered serious erosion since their installation in 1903 when Dyche Hall was built.

KU has awarded the contract for carving new grotesques to Ramberg Stoneworks, in collaboration with the KU School of Architecture & Design. A fundraising effort is underway to raise $150,000 to recreate the sculptures and place them back on their pedestals on Dyche Hall. To date, $20,000 has been raised for the project.

The artists and educators will begin the process with a series of public events from 1-4 p.m. Thursday, June 14. Artists Karl Ramberg and Laura Ramberg, together with KU faculty members Keith Van de Riet and Amy Van de Riet, will lead the activities. The eight grotesques will be located in the Panorama for viewing during the event. The afternoon’s activities:

  • 1 p.m.: Children, families and adults are invited to sculpt their own grotesques from modeling clay.
  • 2 p.m.: The public can sketch the grotesques alongside artist and sculptor team members Laura and Karl Ramberg.
  • 3 p.m.: KU Professor Keith Van de Riet will deliver a talk on the 3-D scanning techniques used to generate high-resolution images of the grotesques.

“The ability to capture the original grotesques with 3-D imaging will provide the sculptors with an exact model to work from and will enable us to fashion wonderful memorabilia of this fantastic mythical menagerie of beasts that is unique to KU,” said Leonard Krishtalka, director of the Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum.

To support the fund for recreating the grotesques, please visit the museum's giving page

Photo: The iconic grotesques at Dyche Hall were taken down in fall 2017. Fundraising is underway to replace the mythical beasts. Credit: KU Marketing Communications

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