National Corvette Museum Celebrates 29th Anniversary, highlighting Corvette legacy
It’s been 29 years since the National Corvette Museum opened to the public, and a big celebration is planned to highlight the milestone on Labor Day weekend.
The annual event is happening Thursday, Aug. 31, through Saturday, Sep. 2, with three days of seminars, autograph sessions, and product demonstrations set to entertain car enthusiasts for hours. Popular seminars will feature the Bowling Green Assembly Plant, General Motors, Michelin, and Mobil 1.
For the fans, by the fans
Sharon Brawner is the President and CEO of the National Corvette Museum, which sits right across the road from the plant where the car is manufactured. She told WKU Public Radio that the museum opened nearly three decades ago because of some detailed restorationists who had eyes for the Corvette.
"It was really started by a group of enthusiasts about the car, mostly coming from the National Corvette Restorers Society, which is exactly what it says in its name. These are folks who take care of managing cars and keeping them restored to their original state, to the level that you would assume a 1962 just rolled off the assembly line."
Brewer added that the group had several documents and pieces they wanted to put together to show off to the public. She said the conversation began about establishing a museum over a decade before one came to be.
"They started raising money. This land was located, designated, and purchased, and then the very first portion of this building was opened in 1994. It then had an expansion in 2009, which basically added on to the section that most people know now," Brewer said.
The latest edition features an executive conference center, retail space, and a car-themed restaurant called the "Stingray Grill." It also houses the space where purchasers of new Corvettes can take their car on delivery.
All about the Corvette
As the museum celebrates 29 years this weekend, the Corvette itself also reached a milestone earlier this year by turning 70. Known as National Corvette Day, June 30 marks the day that the first Corvette rolled off an assembly line in Flint, Michigan, in 1953. The museum celebrated the occasion by opening their latest exhibit called "An American Love Affair: 70 Years of Corvette."
Brewer noted that the car is something the museum is very proud of in terms of its impact on America and Bowling Green.
"We want to bring the car to the forefront of people’s minds so that they understand it’s important, not just in the fact that it’s a beautiful car, but its position in American history. There is no other nameplate that’s ran as long as this one," she said. "For us here locally, it’s an important part of Bowling Green history."
Since the Bowling Green Assembly Plant opened in 1981, about 1.1 million Corvettes have rolled off the assembly line. According to Brewer, the car continues to experience an enormous success rate, which she attributes to ongoing innovation and even pop culture.
"This movie craze is taking the nation by storm, and what car did Mattel put Barbie in back in the 60s? A Corvette. She didn’t drive a Mustang. She drove a Corvette. Why? Because it’s America’s car."
This weekend’s event will celebrate the museum and all things Corvette. A full list of events can be found on the museum’s website.
Those interested in attending the seminars will need to register, which can be done online or by calling (270) 777-4556.
The National Corvette Museum is located at 350 Corvette Dr. in Bowling Green, Kentucky.