Designed by noted architect I.M. Pei, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a 150,000 square-foot museum dedicated to educating visitors about the history of rock and roll and how the musical genre is still relevant today. Located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio, the pyramid-shaped museum opened its doors in 1995. The museum offers visitors seven floors of musical exhibits and artifacts to explore.
The first museum dedicated to rock and roll history, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame continually expands upon its exhibits and artifacts through loaned or donated items from artists and collectors spanning the globe. Exhibits pay tribute to the legends of rock and roll and highlights specific eras and pivotal points in the evolution of music. Chuck Berry was the first inductee into the hall of fame and the museum displays one of his outfits and electric guitars. Visitors can also view unique artifacts including Michael Jackson’s signature glove and John Lennon’s wire-rimmed glasses.
Several permanent collections grace the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame wing honors current musical inductees. Visitors can explore the 2,900 square-foot facility highlighted by a multimedia presentation that provides the background of those enshrined in the museum. Artists are qualified for induction to the hall of fame 25 years after issuing their first record. In addition, the Hall of Fame wing houses display cases that include the autographs and artifacts of all the inductees. A computerized jukebox provides thousands of songs performed by all those enshrined.
Another permanent collection includes the "Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll." Chosen by museum staff, rock critics and historians, the songs represent the most popular and significant rock music in history. Artists with multiple selections include The Beatles, Elvis Presley, and The Rolling Stones.
The permanent exhibit "Listen to the Music: The Evolution of Audio Technology" chronicles how audio recordings and listening devices have evolved over time. Featured exhibits include a radio from the 1920s, a record player from the 1960s, and a CD player from the 1980s. Visitors can also listen to recordings created by Thomas Edison.
Since its opening, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has been a boon to Cleveland. More than seven million visitors have passed through the museum and annually the hall spawns more than $100 million into the local economy. The majority of visitors to the museum hail from outside of Cleveland.
Architecturally, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is composed of geometric shapes and is anchored by a 162-foot tower. The museum spills out onto a 65,000 square-foot plaza. In addition to exhibits and artifacts, the hall is home to administrative offices, a gift shop, and a café.