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Richmond's Other Monuments - Grand Kugel

Caroline Jordan

Richmond's Other Monuments

In a city this beautiful and full of history, there's so much to remember. This month, we're featuring the different types of monuments that explore Richmond's extraordinary past and diverse future. Today, we're exploring one of Richmond's youngest, yet most famous sculptures:

"Earth-Moon Sculpture/The Grand Kugel"
Location: Science Museum of Virginia
Date of Dedication: January 2003, rededicated October 2005.
Artist: Kusser Granite Works, Germany.
Donor: Mary Morton Parsons

Most of Richmond's monuments date farther back than tweets and ride-sharing apps, but none can share the Grand Kugel's distinction as a Guinness World Record holder. Weighing in at 29-tons with a nearly 9-foot diameter, the Grand Kugel is the world's largest floating-ball sculpture.

And float the Grand Kugel does: like all Kugel fountains, the Grand Kugel sits atop a thin film of water that allows the massive granite ball to turn at the slightest touch, making Earth-Moon a family favorite in the region. 

Though the massive Earth part of the sculpture often first draws the eye, visitors can follow the red brick path across the museum campus to the Moon.

Situated 250 feet from the Earth sculpture, Moon is 2.3 feet in diameter, weighs about 1,100 pound and enjoys the same miraculous Kugel motion as its Earth sister. Both the distance between the sculptures and their sizes mimic the proportions the objects share in space.

Originally dedicated in January of 2003, the first Grand Kugel developed a crack that prevented the sphere from spinning. A replacement sphere was installed in October of 2005, and, much to the delight of Richmond's children, the Earth spun again.

Visit
Science Museum of Virginia
428 North Boulevard
Richmond, Virginia  23220
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