About The Rock Hall

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame's mission is to engage, teach and inspire through the power of rock & roll. 

Learn about our history, building, economic impact, green initiatives and (of course) careers.

History & Overview

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In 1985, when the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was deciding where to open its physical museum, Cleveland threw its hat into the ring for consideration. Thanks to a groundswell of public support and a $65 million commitment from city officials, the Foundation chose Cleveland as the winning site, over locales such as New York, San Francisco, Memphis and Chicago. Needless to say, the Rock Hall's construction was cooler than most. On June 7, 1993, the Who's Pete Townshend, Chuck Berry, Billy Joel, Sam Phillips, and Ruth Brown (to name a few) attended the Cleveland groundbreaking ceremony, while Jerry Lee Lewis performed a year later when the building was finished off with the placement of one last steel beam.

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame threw open its doors on September 2, 1995, and celebrated with a blockbuster benefit concert at nearby Cleveland Municipal Stadium. This marathon show featured once-in-a-lifetime pairings (for example, Chuck Berry's mischievous onstage collaboration with Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band) and performances by greats such as James Brown, Bob Dylan, Jerry Lee Lewis, Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash and Booker T. and the M.G.s. Besides the Municipal Stadium concert, the Rock Hall's festive opening weekend featured a downtown Cleveland parade and a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Little Richard and Yoko Ono.

Economic Impact

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Since opening in 1995, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has welcomed more than 10 million visitors from around the globe and generated more than $2 billion in economic impact for Northeast Ohio. In 2015, 500,000 people visited the Rock Hall, a figure which represents a 15% attendance bump from the year before. These visitors—90% of whom live outside of Cleveland—help the Rock Hall contribute $107 million in annual economic impact to the region.

Besides being Cleveland's musical mecca, the Rock Hall is also the city's most unique, welcoming and inclusive cultural asset. In fact, in 2015, the Rock Hall was one of just 25 nonprofits designated a member of the “Commission 50" by a Greater Cleveland Partnership program called the Commission on Economic Inclusion. This honor recognizes the organization's significant accomplishments regarding diversity and inclusion. 

 

About The Foundation

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In 1983, Atlantic Records co-founder/chairman Ahmet Ertegun spearheaded the formation of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Foundation. Ertegun enlisted a group of music industry lifers—including Rolling Stone publisher Jann Wenner, Bruce Springsteen manager Jon Landau, attorney Suzan Evans, and record executives Seymour Stein and Bob Krasnow—and together the organization set out to celebrate the musicians who founded, changed and revolutionized rock & roll.

The nonprofit Foundation's first goal was establishing the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. In January 1986, the first class of inductees were honored at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Grand Ballroom. A few months later, Cleveland was selected as the permanent home of the brick-and-mortar Rock Hall.

In the ensuing decades, the Foundation has continued its support of the Rock Hall. Each year, its nominating committee gathers to choose the artists comprising the performer category ballot. The Foundation also holds special fundraising events (such as 2009's star-studded 25th anniversary concerts, which helped fund the Rock Hall's first endowment) and provides ongoing funding for capital projects. In fact, it remains the largest single contributing donor to the Rock Hall. 

Community Outreach

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Building Architecture

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Designed by internationally renowned architect I.M. Pei, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is one of Cleveland's most striking (and recognizable) pieces of architecture. The 150,000-square-foot building has a glass-enclosed, double pyramid adjacent to a 162-foot tower, both of which soar above the shores of Lake Erie. Upside-down cars from U2's Zoo TV tour greet visitors in the sun-filled lobby atrium, which often hosts concerts and other special events, while a nosh-worthy café and the museum store offer plenty of dining and shopping options. 

The Rock Hall's exhibition space stretches over 55,000 square feet and seven levels, and features plenty of nooks and crannies filled with multimedia goodies to explore. In the coming years, the building's already-bustling, brick-lined, 65,000 square-foot outdoor plaza will become a community gathering place filled with the sound of frequent live performances. 

Green Initiatives

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At the Rock Hall, being kind to the planet is built into our DNA. Remnants from closed exhibits or old fixtures are sent to a reclamation facility to be reused and recycled, while the building itself has environment-conscious touches such as motion-activated washroom faucets and recycling bins. Rock Hall staff members are also committed to being environmentally friendly—among other things, we sip fair trade coffee from stoneware mugs in the employee kitchen—and our on-site caterers and events professionals also strive to be eco-aware. Plus, we have an ongoing partnership with Baldwin Wallace University's Sustainability Program to make sure we stay on the right track.

In recent years, the Rock Hall has installed more energy-efficient electronics and LEDs in place of standard electric and sodium light bulbs. Opened in 2012, the nearby Library and Archives was also specifically designed with the environment in mind. Both the interior and exterior was constructed using materials from sustainable sources, and the water, heating and cooling systems meet or exceed standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council, which awarded the building with the LEED Silver Certification status.

Careers/Volunteers

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Rock Hall employees work hard and play hard. But at heart, we're all music fans eager to share our knowledge and passion with everyone who comes through our doors. Learn about our open jobs.

Annual Reports

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The 2014-2015 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annual Report to the Community

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The 2014-2015 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annual Report to the Community

2013-2014 Rock Hall Annual Report

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The 2013-2014 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Annual Report to the Community

I felt that the experience was really eye-opening, and I learned a lot about rock & roll from its early days to today. The exhibits were well done and unique, with items from rockstars that are not easily found elsewhere. [The Rock Hall] presented rock music in a way that made me appreciate this genre even more.

TripAdvisor commenter who visited in spring 2016