In the 1980s, someone at the annual meeting of the National Corvette Restorers Society suggested the establishment of a centralized library and archive, a place to preserve and to share technical bulletins and other documents that might be important when restoring a car.
One of the restorers said he’d donate his historic Corvette to be displayed at such a facility, and soon the idea of a library grew into a full-fledged museum. Well, at least it did after nearly a decade of fund raising produced enough money to create a 115,000-square-foot structure capped by a now-iconic and bright-yellow cone-shaped Skydome that’s pierced by a 12-story red spire.
The museum, which has been much in the news in recent months because of a huge sinkhole that swallowed eight of the cars on display in the Skydome, celebrated its 20th anniversary over the Labor Day weekend.
The celebration included the opening of the museum’s newest attraction, a full-fledged Motorsports Park located just across the interstate highway on the north side of Bowling Green, Kentucky. At the NCM Motorsports Park, Corvettes not only can be seen, but exercised on a race track. A high-performance driving school, led by long-time Corvette racer Ron Fellows, opens soon at the facility.
The new Motorsports Park completes the Bowling Green Corvette trilogy. Just north of the museum is the assembly plant where all Corvettes are built. The plant is one of the few auto assembly facilities in the country that visitors can tour.
In fact, you can watch your car being built in the assembly plant and then take delivery of the brand new Corvette while you’re visiting the museum.
However, you don’t have to be a Corvette enthusiast to enjoy a visit to the museum or the assembly plant or the Motorsports Park. While the displays in the museum certainly are Corvette-centric, they also provide a nostalgic look at American car culture and technology.
For example, there’s an old Mobil service station, an area that focuses on automotive design and technology, an exhibition hall that often has non-automotive exhibitions, and a KidZone with hands-on activities.
For visitor information, see the www.corvettemuseum.org website.
Photos by Larry Edsall