During our vacation to Pigeon Forge this summer, we made a trip to Kentucky to buy a sweet red widebody corvette. This put us close to the Bowling Green, so of course we had to make a stop at the National Corvette Museum! The museum is located about a mile from GM’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant, where corvettes have been produced since the operation was moved from St. Louis in 1981. It opened in 1994 and operates as a nonprofit. Volunteers from various corvette clubs join full time employees to keep it up and running, with impressive results.
With its iconic architecture and unprecedented collection of Corvettes- some owned by the museum, others on loan from GM or private individuals, the National Corvette Museum has always been well-known among corvette enthusiasts nation-wide. It gained worldwide fame, however, when a sinkhole opened suddenly and swallowed eight corvettes in the Skydome portion of the museum. When we visited for the first time in 2015, the floor had just been replaced, and we were only allowed to peak inside the Skydome from afar to glimpse the progress of repairs. We were also able to see the corvettes that had been pulled out, and an exhibit that had already been set up to explain how the disaster occurred.
Today, the Skydome is again filled with cars, including those that fell victim to the sinkhole. Three of those have now been restored. The others will remain as they were when pulled out of the ground, as a reminder of the incident. The carnage they suffered is pretty hard to look at! When the floor was rebuilt, a manhole to the bottom of the sinkhole was installed, complete with a see-through cover- so you can still see 30 feet down to the bottom of the hole! There are also outlines on the floor showing the borders of where the hole was in the floor, and of the sinkhole itself.
Despite all the sinkhole hype- there is a lot more to the museum than that! Some of our favorite exhibits include the concept cars (including the Mako Shark
), corvette racecars, and display about Zora Arkus-Duntov, one of the corvette’s creators. See these and more below!