After considering three options, the board of directors of the National Corvette Museum decided Wednesday to keep open for viewing a small portion of the sinkhole that swallowed eight cars in the Skydome in February. The other options were to fill the hole and replace the entire floor to return the Skydome to its pre-hole condition or to keep the entire sinkhole open, thus reducing the display area within the dome.
Pending additional review, the decision will allow a 25 x 45-foot wide section of the hole to remain, with visitors able to see approximately 30 feet down into the abyss. Within the hole, a dirt embankment could be sculpted to display one or two of the cars damaged when the floor collapsed (see diagram).
However, the board requested some additional information before making its decision final. Fourteen of the 16 board members were at the meeting.
In a news release, the museum said the additional information the board requested included answers to questions about such things as what it might cost to maintain the temperature and humidity within the Skydome with such a large opening remaining in the floor.
“You come in [to the museum] and you have all these displays of the history and life of Corvette, and then you come into the Skydome to see this new part of history,” said Mike Murphy, chief executive of Scott, Murphy and Daniel Construction, the company that had handled the recovery and construction work within and beneath the Skydome.
“I think it will always be a part of history, but will the increased attendance continue? I don’t know, but it will always be of high interest.”
“If the interest in the exhibit wanes, or if down the road we decided to that we don’t want the hole any longer, there is always an option to put the room back how it was,” the museum’s chief financial officer, Christy Thomas, told the board.
Thomas also told the board there had been a 59-percent increase in the number of visitors since the sinkhole, as well as a 72-percent increase in museum membership, and a 58-percent increase in sales in the museum store.
Added Wendell Strode, the museum’s executive director:“It would be so much easier to just be a regular automotive museum with our Corvettes on display, but we have to think outside the box.
Or even outside the hole.
Diagrams courtesy National Corvette Museum