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Renovations Create Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum '2.0'

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum opened its doors in 1995 along the Cleveland lakeshore.  While the Rock Hall's I.M. Pei building is iconic and recognized around the world it's been a challenging exhibition space, according to president and C.E.O Greg Harris.

"Architecturally I think the I.M. Pei building is one of the finest buildings in our country.  It's a real statement, it's a strong building.  But to function as a museum, it's a giant, glass tent sitting on the edge of a big lake," Harris admits.

This weekend the Rock Hall opens to the public what's being billed as "Museum 2.0".  The interior exhibit spaces, ticketing office and restaurant have been refashioned and retrofitted in an effort to improve the flow of visitors through the building.

One of the highlights of the renovation is a new film by the late Oscar-winning director Jonathan Demme, who is known for films like Silence of the Lambs and rock documentaries, like the seminal, Talking Heads doc Stop Making Sense.

"One of [Demme's] hallmarks was really the emotion.  Getting close to the subject so you could actually see that, almost uncomfortably close at times," Harris said.

Demme's 12-minute Power of  Rock Experience replaces a much longer, two-and-a-half-hour film that's become unwieldy over the years.  That original film also has become somewhat obsolete.

"When we opened it was a big deal to see Chuck Berry on video playing guitar.  Now you can go on your laptop and watch him on You Tube," Harris explains.

Harris notes that the renovation is in step with the Rock Hall's new mission statement to engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock and roll.

"All of these changes were fueled by a desire to grow, elevate and be more impactful," Harris said.

Along with the new film and changes to the exhibit spaces, the Rock Hall also spotlights rock-star chefs of Northeast Ohio with its All Access Cafe.

"It's on the main floor and features menu items created by Jonathon Sawyer of Greenhouse [Tavern] and Noodle Cat, Rocco Whalen, a wonderful chef [of Fahrenheit] and Fabio Salerno whose menu we all love from over at Town Hall," Harris said.

For those looking to just hang out, the restaurant is also available to visitors without the purchase of a ticket.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum redesign opens to the public Saturday.





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