In case you didn’t hear about the collapse of the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky just a few years ago, here’s what happened. In the early morning hours of February 12, 2014, the floor under museum’s main display dome gave way and eight very special Corvettes fell into a deep subterranean sinkhole. Just like that, the Earth swallowed up eight irreplaceable Corvettes. When the museum’s own security footage of the disaster made its way to news organizations, it became an international event. Though the owners of the museum quickly removed the undamaged cars from the museum and rescued the mangled ones, the buzz from the story turned the museum into a major tourist destination virtually overnight.
After the disaster, the museum’s board of directors wanted to rebuild the museum and repair and display the damaged Corvettes as soon as possible. After all, the National Corvette Museum is a source of national pride for many stakeholders. There was no question that this needed to occur as soon as possible. However, the museum had immediately become an attraction because of the cave-in. The museum attendance had more than doubled and this was important because more paying customers allowed the museum to pursue its goals easier. After much discussion, then, several members of the board suggested that the cave-in incident become part of the museum’s new displays. And that’s exactly what happened.
Today, the Corvette Cave In, as the museum is now called, features both aspects of its history. First, the Corvettes that fell into the sinkhole have been fully restored. This was a major task, since they were heavily damaged during the disaster. Now, all the original Corvettes that were present, damaged and undamaged, are back on display for enthusiasts to see. In addition to the Corvettes, the museum now includes a primer on Kentucky’s karst landscape of underground caves, the sort that gave in to create the sinkhole in the first place. Who would have thought that a museum dedicated to American automobile technology would become a major science exhibit too?
So if you are in Bowling Green any time, the folks at Wolf Chase Chrysler in Memphis, TN, just a short drive away from Bowling Green, encourage you to visit this new, unusual museum. Not only will you be able to view some of America’s most famous and significant Corvettes, you will be treated to a first-rate geology lesson concerning Kentucky’s landscape of underground caves.
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