National Corvette Museum unveils sinkhole display a decade later

Photo of author

By Car Brand Experts


Corvettes saved from a sinkhole in the Ground to Sky: The Sinkhole Reimagined exhibition
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr

Corvettes saved from a sinkhole in the Ground to Sky: The Sinkhole Reimagined exhibition

Corvettes saved from a sinkhole in the Ground to Sky: The Sinkhole Reimagined exhibition
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr

Corvettes saved from a sinkhole in the Ground to Sky: The Sinkhole Reimagined exhibition

 

  • Exhibition presents five Corvettes saved from a sinkhole that emerged a decade ago
  • National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, is situated above an extensive cave network
  • 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06 displayed retains its distorted state

In the early hours before the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, opened, the ground collapsed and consumed eight classic Corvettes. Ten years later, the Museum has introduced a temporary exhibit called, “Ground to Sky: The Sinkhole Reimagined,” running until Sept. 15.

The exhibition pays tribute to the restoration of the 2001 Mallett Hammer Z06, the millionth and 1.5 millionth Corvette ever manufactured, the ZR-1 Spyder, a 2009 ZR1 “Blue Devil”, alongside other items engulfed by the 40-foot wide, 60-foot deep gap that appeared in the famed Skydome Hall of Fame.

“By highlighting our dedication to conserving Corvette heritage while moving forward, from the refurbishment of damaged Corvettes to the progress made over the past decade encompassing the entire Museum, the ‘Ground to Sky: The Sinkhole Reimagined’ exemplifies our commitment,” remarked Robert Maxhimer, Director of Curatorial Affairs and Education.

Corvettes saved from a sinkhole in the Ground to Sky: The Sinkhole Reimagined exhibition
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr

Corvettes saved from a sinkhole in the Ground to Sky: The Sinkhole Reimagined exhibition

The sinkhole and the subsequent recovery operations garnered widespread attention from the time it occurred on Feb. 12, 2014 until 2016 when the recovery and renovation process became an integral part of the Museum that was established in 1994 on the permeable terrain of southern Kentucky.

Situated opposite GM’s Corvette Assembly Plant in Bowling Green, the National Corvette Museum resides atop karst territory, approximately 30 miles from Mammoth Cave National Park, the longest documented cave system globally. Bowling Green symbolizes Kentucky’s mining region, where subterranean caves and springs flow like veins underground, and where sediment regularly shifts into crevices in the earth, triggering sinkholes. Just five days after the Corvette sinkhole incident, another larger one emerged 15 miles away. 

Being present at the sinkhole occurrence itself while reporting for the Chicago Tribune was quite impactful. It happened around 5 a.m., fortunately before any staff or visitors had arrived at the primary section of the 115,000 square-foot Museum. The Skydome, with its reddish spire piercing through the 100-foot glass roof, housed 22 of the rarest and most valuable Corvettes along with the Hall of Fame commemorating esteemed figures likeZora Arkus-Duntov, the visionary behind the original 1953 Corvette.

Now, after being filled and stabilized, and with the Skydome restored to its original state, the new exhibit features the five Corvettes mentioned previously, almost untouched since being stored. The Mallett, extracted last from the sinkhole, remains in its crumpled state from the sinkhole incident. An observation platform has been included in the exhibit to view the sinkhole as well as the rock that severely impacted the Mallett Hammer Corvette.   

Corvettes saved from a sinkhole in the Ground to Sky: The Sinkhole Reimagined exhibition
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr

Corvettes saved from a sinkhole in the Ground to Sky: The Sinkhole Reimagined exhibition

There was an air of reverence while exploring the Skydome and interviewing the engineers responsible for the recovery efforts along with the curator who navigated the changes, reminiscent of how the Corvette has evolved over its 70-year history. The debut of the C8 Corvette in 2020 transformed America’s supercar into a menacing mid-engine model. The 2024 Corvette E-Ray injected AWD hybrid power into the icon. A fully electric Corvette is anticipated to be unveiled later this year. 

In the interim, the Museum anticipates a surge in visitor attendance due to this exclusive exhibition. 

Leave a Comment

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This

Share This

Share this post with your friends!