National Corvette Museum: Embracing the Sinkhole


When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And when life gives you a sinkhole … make money! That’s what the board members of the National Corvette Museum seem to be thinking, anyway.

In case you don’t know the backstory, here’s a recap: Back in February, a massive sinkhole opened up under the museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, swallowing up eight vintage Corvettes. After the dust had settled (literally), a painstaking recovery process began. By April, all of the “Great Eight,” as the sinkhole Vettes are now known, had been recovered – some in surprisingly decent shape, some just mangled hunks of metal.

In the meantime, the museum staff noticed something interesting: a huge spike in museum attendance, up nearly 60% from the same period in 2013. Turns out there are a lot of people who are only marginally interested in Corvettes, but are really interested in seeing a huge sinkhole and the havoc it can wreak. To capitalize on the public’s interest, museum staff decided to keep the damaged Corvettes on display until after the museum’s 20th Anniversary celebration in August.

visitors take pictures of the sinkhole
Corvettes – what Corvettes? Museum visitors getting a good shot of the sinkhole.

Then in a meeting last week, the museum’s board of directors decided to take things a step further, making a preliminary decision to keep a portion of the sinkhole open for viewing by museum visitors. The planned opening would be approximately 25 by 45 feet wide, and some 30 feet deep. The board members even discussed placing one or two of the damaged Vettes into the sinkhole as a display.

Some people might think this is a little odd. But we think it’s pretty darn smart. After all, a museum dedicated to Corvettes has limited appeal. In fact, many reports say that the museum has struggled to meet its operating expenses in the past. If the people want to see a sinkhole, why not give them a sinkhole? The museum’s Executive Director, Wendell Strode, agrees:

“This gives us one more asset … to be able to attract those folks that maybe just having Corvettes on display would not get them to come here. We think it will continue for some time to be of great interest.”

The museum’s board members are still waiting for some further information before making their final decision. We’ll be following this story as it develops and will keep you updated on the future of the National Corvette Museum. (Maybe they should rename it the National Corvette Museum and Sinkhole Sanctuary?)

Read our other sinkhole coverage here:
Everyone Loves a Corvette – Even Mother Nature
Corvettes vs. Sinkhole Update: Good News and Bad News


Images courtesy of National Corvette Museum

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