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Corvette Museum Planning ThunderDome Exhibit to Tell the Story of the Sinkhole

The National Corvette Museum continues to make lemonade out of the lemons that literally fell beneath its feet last year.

Museum officials have released details about what they’re calling “Thunderdome,” a unique multimedia experience that will allow visitors to “live through” the collapse of the Skydome floor that sent eight Corvettes falling into the bowels of the earth in February 2014.

[VIDEO] Corvette Museum's Sinkhole Also Brings Record Visitors to the Corvette Assembly Plant

Remember how nervous you were that first day on a new job?

Well, imagine Corvette Assembly Plant Manager Jeff Lamarche’s feelings when he arrived for his second day on the job on Feb. 12, 2014 – only to find out that a sinkhole had swallowed eight Corvettes in the National Corvette Museum just next door during the night!

On Thursday afternoon, the National Corvette Museum marked the one year anniversary of the SkyDome Sinkhole with a press conference that culminated in the official return of the 2009 Corvette “Blue Devil” ZR1 to the display floor.

The Museum considers the one-year anniversary to be a celebration of sorts for the all the hard work and determination from the staff of the museum, the construction workers that put in long hours during the recovery and repairs, as well as the Museum members who stepped up their support during this difficult year.

The staff at the Museum, led by Executive Director Wendell Strode, has often been described as taking a bad situation and turning it into a positive outcome. The phrase “turning lemons into lemonade” has been used to describe the last year which saw record visitor numbers and new memberships despite the fact there was a large sinkhole in the SkyDome. So it was no surprise that the during the commemoration, glasses of lemonade were passed around to those in attendance.

Special activities are planned at the National Corvette Museum on Thursday, Feb. 12, to observe the one-year anniversary of the sinkhole that formed inside the SkyDome and swallowed eight classic Corvettes.

The disaster actually has turned out to be a blessing in disguise for the museum, which earned major news coverage around the world and actually experienced a 67 percent increase in attendance for the year.

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After a seven week process of preparing to fill the massive sinkhole under the National Corvette Museum’s Skydome, the ceremonial “first rock” was cast into the pit by the NCM’s Executive Director Wendell Strode. Inscribed on the rock was the words “Awesome God, Everyone Safe”, a testament to the fact that despite all the destruction caused by the sinkhole, there were no injuries to visitors or the employees who work there.

When Kevin Helmintoller donated his 2001 Mallet Hammer Corvette Z06 to the National Corvette Museum in late 2013, never in a million years would he have believed that the car would be lost a few months later in a catastrophic accident. But on the morning of February 12th this year, the ground gave way under the Corvette Museum’s SkyDome and swallowed eight Corvettes, the first being Helmintoller’s donated Z06.

General Motors to Restore the 1992 'One Millionth' Corvette Rescued from Sinkhole

When Humpty Dumpty took his big tumble a few years back, all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty together again. Well, the King obviously didn’t choose the right people for the job—he should have contacted the talented craft workers of the Design Fabrication Operation at General Motors’ Global Design Center in Warren, Mich.

You see, in addition to their normal duties fabricating and assembling many of GM’s top design study vehicles and futuristic show cars, they have undertaken a task akin to putting Humpty back together—restoring to its previous glory, the 1 Millionth Corvette convertible that was heavily damaged when it was swallowed by the National Corvette Museum’s sinkhole back in February.

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