The Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland

The Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame is probably the most well known and popular place in Cleveland for people visiting the city. A tribute to and museum for everything relating to rock’n’roll, it’s an incredibly popular place to visit for anyone who enjoys the genre of music. Growing up in Cleveland, I’ve visited the Rock’n’Roll hall of fame too many times to remember. My school would take us there every other year in elementary and middle school, and since the museum would have a new exhibit or two every month or so, I also went whenever a particular exhibit caught my eye. Having been there so many times I feel comfortable saying that while the museum does do many things right, there is at least one major flaw with it.

Before going into that though, I’ll give a brief description of it’s layout. One thing that immediately catches your eye when arriving at the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame is it’s shape. Much like the Louvre, the museum is a giant glass pyramid, a design choice I’ll talk about a bit more later. Inside the museum there are many permanent exhibits and 2-3 temporary ones at a time. In the basement, and the largest floor of the museum, there are movies on the history of Rock’n’Roll that you can watch, an exhibit on different cities and the music they produced, and an exhibit on the origins of rock’n’roll. Along with this are also displays of some of the museums collection of famous instruments and outfits from performers, and props from famous shows. On the museum’s first floor is a permanent Beatles exhibit, and an exhibit on contemporary rock’n’roll artists. A spiraling ramp takes you up to the second floor and the inside of this ramp contains plaques for all the hall of fame inductees. The second floor is where the temporary exhibits are usually contained. The third and final floor is where the hall of fame’s most popular attraction is. Here there are dozens of headphones attached to the wall, and at each one, you can listen to the entire collection of music by any artist that has been inducted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame. Many people have spent hours at this section of the museum.

The Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame does many things right in my opinion. It works closely with local school districts to allow kids from all over Cleveland to come visit very cheap, it constantly has new, interesting exhibits on display, and the museum has been very beneficial to the city of Cleveland thanks to the number of visitors from elsewhere in the country that it attracts. Other things it could do better though. Those in charge of choosing who is inducted into the rock hall have been accused many times of letting personal politics influence their decisions. The yearly induction ceremony for the rock hall, an event that attracts thousands each year, is rarely held in Cleveland, often being held in other cities instead even though it would be a boon to Cleveland’s economy for it to be held in the city. The museum’s design itself is also often criticized. While definitely making it interesting to look at, the pyramid design of the museum had severely restricted the amount of floor space it has to display it’s collection. All in all though, I think the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame is greatly beneficial to the city of Cleveland, bringing in tourists year round, and providing an interesting, educational, and fun environment for kids in the city to visit.

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2 thoughts on “The Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland

  1. I would definitely like to visit the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame some day. It sounds like an extremely unique experience. You mentioned that they don’t hold the inductions into the Hall of Fame in Cleveland, did you find a reason for that? Also, who is in charge of the Hall, is it a federal or private institution? Another question I have is, with its pyramid design was it trying to copy the louvre or did the architect just think it was an interesting design? Do you think they should change it? You also mentioned the criticism that politics influenced who is inducted into the Hall, who were the most recent examples?

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  2. I agree with your criticisms, especially of the museum holding inductions outside of Cleveland. A museum should really seek to be integrated in its community as much as possible and do more for it like the discount tickets and other programs like you mentioned. It sounds like there is a good mix of interesting permanent exhibits like the space with the headphones and fresh new exhibits to draw in new visitors. I am curious about how the proximity and fame of this museum affected your taste in music and how you feel about the museum as a part of your community.

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