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Driving Security: PDK Cloud Access Control for the National Corvette Museum


PDK Case Study National Corvette Museum

National Corvette Museum Logo

The National Corvette Museum, located proudly in the heart of Bowling Green, Kentucky, is a tribute to the history of the American automotive industry. Since its founding in 1994, the organization has been dedicated to celebrating the Chevrolet Corvette and preserving its legendary legacy for future generations. With over 115,000 square feet of property and a collection of over 100 cars and tens of thousands of artifacts, the National Corvette Museum offers visitors a one-of-a-kind experience of the spirit of America’s Sports Car.


Safeguarding such an important collection and ensuring the security of staff and visitors is no small feat. After years of using a traditional mechanical key system, The National Corvette Museum decided to upgrade its security infrastructure. Under the expertise of JNE Security Systems, owned by Michael Olson, the organization implemented a ProdataKey (PDK) cloud access system across its sprawling campus, transforming its operations and security.


The Chevrolet Corvette: An American Icon

The first ever Chevrolet Corvette came off the line in 1953, and since then, the iconic car has established itself as a symbol of the American dream. “The success of the Corvette has mirrored some of the success of America, whether that be in technological advancements, but also pop culture,” says Ryan Eichler, Director of Marketing Communications at the National Corvette Museum. Over the years, stars like Michael Jordan, John Wayne, and Matthew McConaughey have famously driven the Corvette, appearing in countless movies and songs and cementing its status as a reflection of the American spirit.

Corvette Logo
Red Corvette

As the Corvette approaches its 71st anniversary, the National Corvette Museum is a testament to its enduring legacy. “Our mission is really to celebrate and educate audiences worldwide on the history and innovation of Corvette,” explains Ryan. The National Corvette Museum is in a class by itself, attracting Chevrolet enthusiasts and newcomers alike. The Corvette campus covers over 115,000 square feet with beautiful rotating exhibits, restoration and archives buildings, an education gallery, and even a race track.


With the production plant across the street, the National Corvette Museum offers an unparalleled delivery experience called the R8C program for new Corvette buyers. “It’s a very VIP white glove experience,” says Ryan. New Corvette owners can enjoy a personalized, exclusive way to pick up their Corvette right off the line in the heart of its heritage— and even take it for a first spin on the race track. The program has grown exponentially over the last few decades, with over 2,500 Corvettes delivered through the R8C in 2023.


People looking at a car

The National Corvette Museum is located in Bowling Green, Kentucky, a relatively small city of about 80,000 people, and is a significant destination for tourists across the nation and even worldwide. The museum is a community pillar tied directly to its success, staffing roughly 200 people and driving revenue through tourism. Ryan explains, “The museum brings over $85 million to the Bowling Green community. That economic impact is huge from a tourism standpoint and from a tax base standpoint.”


The Importance of Security

The National Corvette Museum undoubtedly has a heightened need for security, protecting its staff and guests and, of course, its collection of artifacts and cars. The museum has a responsibility to maintain the integrity of its collection, especially because the majority of the items are on loan from private individuals or collections.

“When they hand these things over to us for display, they want to know that their pride and joy, if you will, is secure and safe,”

says Eric Davis, the National Corvette Museum’s Safety and Security Manager.


The organization had been using a system of mechanical keys for years before upgrading its security with PDK. With such a sprawling property and large staff, managing and keeping track of keys was a real issue.

“I can say without a doubt, I have no missing keys right now, whereas I had 57 missing before,”

Eric adds. If a staff member misplaced their keys, they could not deactivate them, presenting severe security risks and logistical headaches


National Corvette Museum wide iso

Accreditation from the American Association of Museums is the gold standard in the industry, and the National Corvette Museum is currently working toward this goal. Out of the 35,000 museums in the U.S. today, only about 3,000 have the certification, and it shows that museums are

“treating the collection with the respect that it needs, and part of that is making sure that the facility is fully secure,”

Ryan explains. Having the accreditation earns museums more prestige within the industry and, in turn, more grants and exhibits. With this goal in mind, the National Corvette Museum turned to PDK to revamp its access security.


The PDK Cloud Access Control Solution

The National Corvette Museum sought out a cloud access control system that was secure, easy to manage, and scalable to work in unison with its 24/7 security team and surrounding technology infrastructure. With the expansiveness of the campus, the organization knew that they would have to implement the system incrementally. Moreover, ProdataKey delivers high-security features with a robust yet easy-to-use interface. In April 2022, JNE Security Systems, led by Michael Olson, began phase one of the installation.

PDK + The JNE Group

ProdataKey System Scalability

Phase One began with about 30 doors, securing administrative spaces, exterior doors, and mechanical rooms. After the initial success, the installation is now in its third phase, encompassing over 110 doors across various museum facilities. “And we’re not done,” adds Eric, “we’re probably going to have a phase four and five. There’s talk of acquiring or building another space, so we will be expanding the system further.” With PDK’s flexible hardware and sophisticated cloud software, the system can seamlessly adapt to the evolving needs of the museum as it continues to grow.

Phase 1-5: Highlighting 30 doors > 110 Doors > ?? Doors

System Modularity and Multi-Site Integration

ProdataKey systems are built on modularity, utilizing ethernet, PoE++, and WiMAC technologies to deliver more installation flexibility and reliable connectivity. The National Corvette Museum system deploys all three mechanisms depending on the location of the doors relative to the area of the IT rooms. Some of the doors on the property are in obscure spots that don’t have a clean line rack to an IT room.

PDK WiMAC, PoE++ and ethernet

Using PoE++ and WiMAC options extends the system across multiple sites on the property, including the exhibit space, restoration, archives buildings, and racetrack.

“It would have been almost impossible to run clean lines without disturbing the space, so the WiMAC was a fantastic option,”

says Michael, “And then, we have certain panels that don’t have the best access to power, so the PoE++ option is just a much smoother alternative.” PDK’s system modularity streamlines installations and optimizes cost.


PDK Red Readers and Credentials

ProdataKey Enhanced Security

For the National Corvette Museum, security is paramount. ProdataKey’s access control platform empowers the museum to regulate access to sensitive areas as securely as possible. The organization opted for PDK’s Red Mullion reader (RMPB), utilizing both Bluetooth and high-security fobs and wristbands.


The museum’s security teams can issue and deactivate credentials if ever misplaced. “We don’t have to worry about that lost wristband coming back and affecting the safety and security of our staff, guests, and collections,” Eric explains. Moreover, the system deploys PDK Red controllers with OSDP (Open Supervised Device Protocol), ensuring encrypted and reliable communication between access control devices


PDK.io on Laptop

Effortless Access Control Management

The intuitiveness of the PDK interface allows the museum’s security staff to to easily manage access permissions, monitor activity, and address any issues promptly. Eric Davis and the security staff access the software on the desktop and remotely through the ProdataKey mobile app. “I’m a retired state trooper, and I love how user-friendly the system is,” adds Eric. Anytime, anywhere, the team can issue credentials, unlock doors, and check device states, ensuring optimal security at all times.


The security staff has also created custom rules to specify access for certain groups throughout the property. For example, employees who work in the office don’t need access to the collection space. Meanwhile, someone in the facilities department may need wider levels of access.

“We wrote all the rules ourselves. It was very easy to figure out how we needed to do things,”

Eric says. For contractors or guests who only need temporary access, the security team can give them the appropriate permissions to do their job.

PDK.io in the middle of a race track

The performance of ProdataKey at the National Corvette Museum exemplifies the power of PDK’s innovative technologies. Through seamless integration, its user-friendly interface, and robust security features, PDK’s solutions provide the museum with the tools to protect its valuable assets and guests, streamline operations, and deliver an unparalleled visitor experience. As the organization continues to celebrate this American icon, PDK is a trusted partner in its mission to safeguard the legacy of the Chevrolet Corvette for generations to come.


 


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National Corvette Museum Case Study


 


ProdataKey is a team of security integrators with decades of hands-on, in-the-field experience.

PDK believes that the best technology is created by professionals who know what it takes

to secure a facility properly and provide the end user with a solution that instills confidence

and safety.


PDK is passionate about creating technology to enhance the security, safety, and overall

experience of both the professionals installing electronic access control and those that live

with and use the system. PDK continues to create technology every day to enhance its

products and the products of its technology partners.

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