Earlier this year, on the second anniversary of the sinkhole collapse beneath its Skydome, the National Corvette Museum opened its newest permanent exhibit, Corvette Cave In! The Skydome Sinkhole Experience.
Then, in early June, the museum unveiled its newest temporary exhibition. Indy Cars Exhibit, a celebration of the centennial of the Indianapolis 500-mile race, which runs through October 14.
The Cave In/Sinkhole experience forms the new, cave-like entrance to the Skydome, where the impact of the sinkhole remains evident even if the floor and some of the damaged cars have been restored.
Part educational display, part you-were-there experience, walls share information about the sinkhole event, the local subterranean structure, and the “cave” includes several interactive displays, including one in which you’re meant to feel what it would have been like had you been in the cave as the sinkhole opened (be sure to look up).
As you leave the Skydome, you enter museum’s exhibition hall where the Indy 500 race centennial is being celebrated.
In addition to Indy racing cars, the display includes the back-up pace car from the 1989 Indy 500, a yellow Corvette convertible, and on loan from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame & Museum, the 1957 Chevrolet Corvette SuperSport.
Along with the Indy cars, you encounter the quilt and the poem.
The quilt is by “The Quilt Lady,” Jeanetta Holder, who has been making quilts for Indy winners for 40 years, starting with Johnny Rutherford in 1976. She also did quilts for 1960 winner Jim Rathmann, ’63 winner Parnelli Jones and ’69 winner Mario Andretti.
Holder knows of where she sews: She raced dirt cars at Beech Bend Park near the Corvette museum site and her work has raised as much as $18,000 when offered at charity auctions. Her quilts typically are 10 feet -by-10 feet. In addition to Indy winners, she has done quilts for people ranging from Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf to singer Lee Greenwood and President Jimmy Carter (and even his brother, Billy).
“This is an anthem for the hearts that’ve surged at the scope of the Pagoda.
For the hands that know the feeling of slapping the North Vista tunnel ceiling.
For the lips that whisper along with Florence Henderson when she sings.
yes. This poem is for the 500 fans who love fast, loud things.”
The poem (the above is an excerpt) is by Adam D. Henze and was the winning entry from among some 200 entered in a contest to find the “official Poet of the 100th Running of the Indy 500” staged by Indiana Humanities and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The contest itself was a celebration and return to the 1920s when a poem was included annually in the official race program.
As you leave the Indy exhibition, you have an opportunity to have your photograph taken pretending you’re the Indy 500 race winner by kissing the bricks.
Photos by Larry Edsall