Sitting on the edge of Lake Erie in Cleveland Ohio, like a glistening Moorish palace, is the impressive and unique Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Filled with memorabilia, music, and art from the days of the early blues shouters to the present teen idols, this museum is a must-see for any popular music fan.
The Building and its Treasures:
Designed by architect, I. M. Pei, the Rock Hall as it is known locally, honors performers, producers, and songwriters from throughout the Rock and Roll era. Among its treasures are hand-written lyrics by John Lennon for Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, one of Iggy Pop’s outrageous stage costumes, and Jim Morrison’s boy scout uniform.
History of Rock and Roll in Cleveland:
The term rock and roll was first coined in Cleveland by radio DJ, Alan Freed in the 1950s. Freed was one of the first radio personalities in the country to embrace this new music genre.
Since Alan Freed's day, Cleveland and the surrounding area have been home to a host of rock and roll musicians, including Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, Tracy Chapman, Joe Walsh of the Eagles, and blues man Robert Lockwood Jr., among others. The city has also been quick to recognize new rock and roll talent, as it did by sponsoring Chuck Berry’s first performance, Elvis’ first northern concert, and David Bowie’s first U.S. appearance.
About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
The Rock Hall opened in 1995 after more than 15 year of petitions, pleas, and planning. The spectacular, angular, 150,000 square foot building stands at the foot of downtown Cleveland against the scenic and ever-changing backdrop of Lake Erie. Today, it is the city’s number one tourist attraction as well as a favorite of area residents. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience and a delight to visitors of all ages and musical tastes.
Music is central to all of the exhibits at the Rock Hall and headphones are liberally scattered throughout the museum to allow visitors to experience old favorites and learn about artists new to them. The permanent exhibits include costumes, lyrics, instruments, handbills for concerts, musical scores, and stage props, among other items. Also featured are mementos from the artists’ childhood, such as tap shoes, report cards, and correspondence.
The museum hosts interesting and in-depth temporary exhibits. Recent installations have included Tommy, an retrospective of "The Who," I Want to Take you Higher, a look at music’s psychedelic era, and an exhibit of Annie Leibovitz’s photographic portraits of rock stars for Rolling Stone Magazine.
Visiting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is open every day to visitors, except for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Discounts are available for seniors and students, and children age eight and under are admitted free. The museum has a café that serves light meals and beverages as well as a large music store, which showcases the works of the Rock Hall inductees. In the summer, the large plaza in front of the museum is the site of frequent concerts, showcasing local and regional musicians.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard
E 9th St and Lake Erie
Cleveland, OH 44113
Hotels Near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is within walking distance of major downtown hotels, such as the Renaissance Cleveland (check rates), the Ritz Carlton (check rates), and the Marriott Key Center (check rates). For less expensive accommodations, try one of the hotels at the I-77/Rockside Road corridor..
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This article is one of the "stops" on the Virtual Amazing Race, a lesson plan suitable for grades 5 and up. Students gather research in a webquest of around-the-world topics and (optionally) create a Web site Using PowerPoint.
(Last updated 8-26-13)
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