Five years ago, on February 12, 2014, car enthusiasts world-wide tuned in to a story that would simultaneously captivate them and make them cringe at the news that eight Corvettes had fallen victim to a massive sinkhole in Kentucky. In the days, weeks and years that would follow, the National Corvette Museum would recover and ‘make lemonade’ – rescuing all eight cars from a more than 30-foot fall while experiencing a 67 percent jump in visitation to the Museum.
Each year the Museum has commemorated the anniversary of what could have been a devastating day, opening a special ‘Corvette Cave-In’ exhibition in 2016, kicking off the restoration of the 1962 Black Corvette in-house in 2017, and revealing the ‘62, good as new, in 2018. With three of the eight Corvettes having been restored, and most of the sinkhole having been filled (a viewing window over a 48” manhole as well as outline on the Skydome floor of where the sinkhole was are the only visible signs that remain of the hole), the Museum decided for the fifth anniversary to give the curious a better look at what lies beneath their feet.
Working with LifeLike Imageworks, a 360-degree interactive tour of the south side of the cave was launched on the Museum’s website. The tour allows virtual visitors to explore nearly every inch of the cave, and even utilize VR goggles.
“While many visitors and enthusiasts encouraged us to leave the sinkhole as-is, it was not feasible to do so,” said Katie Ellison, Marketing and Communications Manager at the National Corvette Museum. “All eight of the Corvettes are on display in approximately the same spots they were prior to the sinkhole, with five of them looking exactly like they did after being pulled from the depths of the hole. We also offer an interactive exhibition, allowing guests to learn about what happened, the cars affected, caves and karst landscapes, how the building was repaired including a time lapse video, and even a live web cam in the cave. A lot of people are curious about what it looks like inside the cave, beyond what the webcam shows, so we decided to add a 360-tour allowing them to take a look.”
The 360-degree tour is free to access and can be found on the Museum’s website (www.corvettemuseum.org) by clicking on the Explore – Exhibits menu, then selecting the Corvette Cave-In link.
“The sinkhole story is one that continues to captivate our visitors, and anyone who stumbles upon our security footage of the collapse online,” added Ellison. “It’s a part of not only Museum history, but also Corvette history. We welcome visitors to come check our immersive displays out and learn that story firsthand.”
The National Corvette Museum, a 501c3 nonprofit foundation, is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky at I-65 exit 28 and is open daily, 8am-5pm CT.