For Chevrolet Corvette enthusiasts, nirvana can be found at exit 28 on Interstate 65 in south-central Kentucky. It's there, in the city of Bowling Green, that two Corvette institutions are located side by side: the Corvette assembly plant and the National Corvette Museum. Corvette lovers from all over the world come to tour the plant and attend one of the many events the museum hosts each year.

The National Corvette Museum attracts Corvette lovers from all corners of the globe.
© National Corvette Museum
The National Corvette Museum attracts Corvette
lovers from all corners of the globe.

The National Corvette Museum was conceived by members of the National Corvette Restorers Society (NCRS) in the mid Eighties as an archival library. A committee was formed to report to the NCRS what was needed to gather and preserve important Corvette documents. The consensus was that the Corvette really needed its own museum and a library. The problem was that no one really knew how to raise the funds.

At the same time, Paul Schnoes, manager of the Corvette assembly plant, and Darrell Bowlin, head of the plant's human relations department, were also considering the idea of a Corvette museum adjacent to the factory on unused plant property. Schnoes presented the idea to then-General Motors President Robert Stempel, who supported the concept, but was adament that GM would not fund a museum. However, Stempel did leave the door open by advising Schnoes that if he wanted to find private funding, he'd get GM's approval.

In the late Eighties, Bowlin began discussions with the NCRS about working together to bring the dream of a museum to fruition and the National Corvette Museum was born. In the years that followed, NCRS members Dan Gale and Ray Battaglini, head of Chevrolet publicrelations, teamed up to push the project forward. Kramer convinced Jim Perkins, then Chevrolet's general manager, that the division needed to provide as much nonfinancial support as possible. That support opened doors inside the corporation that would not have been accessible to the museum.

Fund-raising proved to be the biggest challenge for the museum's supporters. No one had professional fund-raising experience. However, with the idealism that comes from naïveté, they persisted. In 1990, an annex was opened and, with the assistance of original-equipment Corvette suppliers, aftermarket companies, individual Corvette owners and clubs, the city of Bowling Green, Warren County, and the State of Kentucky, the $13 million needed to build the 68,000-square-foot National Corvette Museum was raised. Neumann Smith and Associates, of Southfield, Michigan, designed the building.; Exhibition Works of Livonia, Michigan, handled the final design and construction of the exhibits.

The museum opened on Labor Day 1994, with more than 100,000 people and in excess of 6,000 Corvettes in attendance. Since that time, the National Corvette Museum has attracted tens of thousands of visitors who flock to tour its exhibits and take a guided tour of the Corvette assembly plant to see how their favorite sports car is built.

Learn about Corvettes by model year:

1953 Corvette
1954 Corvette
1955 Corvette
1956 Corvette
1957 Corvette
1958 Corvette
1959 Corvette1960 Corvette
1961 Corvette
1962 Corvette
1963 Corvette
1964 Corvette
1965 Corvette
1966 Corvette
1967 Corvette
1968 Corvette
1969 Corvette
1970 Corvette
1971 Corvette
1972 Corvette
1973 Corvette
1974 Corvette
1975 Corvette
1976 Corvette
1977 Corvette
1978 Corvette
1979 Corvette
1980 Corvette
1981 Corvette
1982 Corvette
1984 Corvette1985 Corvette1986 Corvette
1987 Corvette1988 Corvette1989 Corvette
1990 Corvette1991 Corvette1992 Corvette
1993 Corvette1994 Corvette1995 Corvette
1996 Corvette1997 Corvette1998 Corvette
1999 Corvette 2000 Corvette 2001 Corvette
2002 Corvette 2003 Corvette 2004 Corvette
2005 Corvette 2006 Corvette 2007 Corvette

Looking for more information on Corvettes and other cars? See: