After a nearly 12-week closure, the National Corvette Museum will reopen to the public on Monday. Like many businesses, the museum has implemented recommended procedures to keep guests and staff safe during their visit.
Fans of the Chevrolet Corvette are invited to experience the many improvements that have been in the works for the past six months as two completely remodeled galleries are now open, as well as one new exhibit and one refreshed exhibit.
“We kicked off renovations last November, and have been hard at work on the new E. Pierce Marshall Memorial Performance Gallery ever since,” shared Museum Director of Collections/Curator Derek E. Moore. “For those who have visited us in the past, we think they’ll be impressed with the upgrades. And for those who have yet to visit, they’ll be equally impressed by technology as advanced as the car it celebrates.”
The gallery now features digital projection, interactive touch screens paired with artifact display cases, 180-degree video footage, and an impressive line up of cars. Highlighted front and center in the exhibit is Pierce Marshall Jr.’s C7.R.
“I think the renovation to the museum is extremely timely,” shared Pierce, who sponsored the exhibit in honor of his late father. “To have something more interactive that will engage younger people will ensure future generations will be able to learn how unique Corvette is in America’s car culture and its racing history.”
Also newly remodeled is the Design and Engineering Gallery, which now features ‘The Vision Realized: 60 Years of Mid-Engine Corvette Design.’
“General Motors approached us about an exhibit they were developing, which focuses on the key vehicles that built the foundation for the 2020 Corvette Stingray,” shared Derek. “It features original renderings from our Museum alongside photographs, artifacts and ephemera from both the GM Design Archive & Special Collections, and GM Heritage Center. We are excited to be the first location to display the exhibit.”
Among the cars on display include Corvette Indy, a C8, and the experimental two-rotor Corvette known as XP-987 GT, which was recently acquired by the Museum thanks to the fundraising efforts of Lone Star Corvette Club and Texas Corvette Association. The cars will be joined this summer by CERV-1, CERV-II and XP-819 a rear-engine Corvette known as the ‘ugly duckling’.
Visitors will discover a new ‘Entombed Corvette’ display in the Nostalgia Gallery of the Museum, showcasing the iconic 1954 Corvette that had been ‘cemented in history’ for 27 years. “The previous owners, who wish to remain anonymous, donated the car so that we could continue in the preservation of both the car and its amazing story,” said Derek.
Thanks to the generosity of exhibit sponsors Robin and Mary Vann of the East Tennessee Corvette Club, the display is a recreation of the brick ‘tomb’ the car was once housed in, including features similar to the original including a small viewing window, two light bulbs and a single access hatch. “This particular story is so unique people will really enjoy learning about it,” shared Derek. “Of course, we’ve left one side of the tomb open so that visitors can see the car exactly how it was when it was removed.”
Finally, visitors who are intrigued by the ‘sinkhole story’ will have a new attraction to check out. The simulation of the cave collapse has received an upgrade and now features all eight Corvettes as part of the virtual experience. “Technology advances over the past five years have allowed us to work with exhibit designers to really step up our game and provide an improved virtual reality of the actual collapse,” said Derek.
In addition to the gallery enhancements, the museum also features a special exhibit for 2020 entitled ‘Cartoon Creatures, Kustom Kars and Corvettes: The Art and Influence of Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth.’ The candy-colored, artistic automotive marvels tell the story of Ed Roth and those who were inspired by his work, including GM’s Tom Peters, who co-curated the exhibit and who’s ‘Transformer’ Corvettes are also displayed.
“We are appreciative of Pierce Marshall, Jr., the Vanns and so many others for their financial support, which helped us make these amazing improvements to the Museum,” said Dr. Sean Preston, president and CEO of the National Corvette Museum. “This year we celebrate the museum’s 26th anniversary, and many of these galleries have not changed since the opening of the Museum in 1994. We’re excited to welcome visitors back to our facility and can’t wait for them to see all the new displays.”
The museum is located at I-65, exit 28 in Bowling Green, Kentucky and is open daily, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CT.