Museums, art galleries, jewelers and the like often outfit their spaces with motion sensors to help alert staff members and protect the high-dollar goods. So, when the sensors went off early Wednesday morning at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, staffers expected they might catch a would-be thief attempting to make off with a sleek new ride. If only.
Instead, the scene proved a bit more unnerving than anyone expected. Turns out a massive sinkhole formed beneath the museum’s Skydome section, alerting security at 5:44 am. The Bowling Green Fire Department quickly responded, finding a hole measuring an estimated 40 feet across and up to 30 feet deep.
“It is with heavy hearts that we report that eight Corvettes were affected by this incident,” museum officials said on its website. They include:
No word yet on just how much damage the cars sustained, or whether they’ll be restorable, assuming they can be lifted out of the sinkhole without causing even more damage. Just to be safe, museum officials moved an irreplaceable 1983 Corvette from the premises altogether.
The museum’s Skydome exhibit area is a separate structure connected to the main museum facility. More than 80 Corvettes from mint-condition classics to one-of-a-kind concept prototypes that never made it to production fill 115,000 square feet of exhibit space. Many are shown in period settings including a mid-century barbershop, service station and historic racetrack.
A structural engineer quickly headed to the site to assess the existing damage and the stability of the surrounding areas. Hopefully, all will be repaired and the museum will be back up to speed in time for its 20th Anniversary celebration, Grand Opening of the NCM Motorsports Park and National Corvette Caravan in August.