National Corvette Museum commemorates sinkhole anniversary

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National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green sinkhole cave-in

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WTVQ) – 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.

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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.

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.