Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
Situated on the shores of Lake Erie, appropriately in the birthplace of rock and roll, is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s the world’s first museum dedicated solely to rock, and one of Cleveland’s most popular tourist attractions, inviting thousands inside each year to share with them the great history of musical geniuses like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Ray Charles and The Supremes. Inside these glass walls, fans are immersed in the lives, dreams and legends of rock’s greatest contributors.
Impeccably designed by master architect I.M. Pei, the “house that rock built” mimics Pei’s design for the famous Louvre in Paris. Surrounded by a 65,000 square foot plaza where concerts are held during the summer and visitors may take a minute to admire Lake Erie and the surrounding Cleveland skyline, the pyramid shaped, glass front museum creates a picturesque vision. No matter the time of day, the impressive structure provides a feeling there’s something much larger inside than you or I.
Visitors are met with 55,000 square feet of exhibition space. Organized into categories and decades, the museum is easy to navigate and deserves a whole day, maybe more, if you can spare. The costume wing is my favorite along with the hand-written lyrics, personal belongings from another time and place that put you closer to the creative process behind some of rock’s most talked-about.
A gallery dedicated to the architects of rock and roll put into perspective the birth of rock and the genre’s rough journey to recognition and respect. Alan Freed, the man who coined the term “rock and roll” and introduced rhythm and blues on a white radio station is highlighted here along with Les Paul and the first electric guitar and Sam Phillip’s Sun Studio where Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and others made their first recordings.
At the top of the pyramid you’ll find the Hall of Fame Inductee Gallery. To be eligible for induction into this prestigious group, the artist must have released a record at least 25 years prior to the year of induction. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation, “an artist’s musical influence on other artists, length and depth of career and the body of work, innovation and superiority in style and technique” are all factors considered when inducting a musician, “but musical excellence shall be the essential qualification of induction.” So far there have been 25 induction ceremonies for a total of 605 inductees all of which you can learn more about through interactive displays and videos at the Rock Hall. Ceremonies are held every year, and are hosted in Cleveland every third year.
The story of the progression of rock and the roles it played in society is one we should all know and there’s no better place to learn about it than the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Admission is $22 for adults, $17 for seniors 65+, $13 for children ages 9-12 and free for children 8 and under. The museum is open every day from 10am to 5pm except Thanksgiving and Christmas and it’s open late on Wednesdays until 9pm. To learn more visit www.rockhall.com. Take a photo tour here. – Submitted by C.A., video by F.C.