We were in Cleveland, Ohio last month and toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. We have toured museums from coast to coast and except for some of the major art museums, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is the finest anywhere in the country. I. M. Pei was the architect for the building and it is an unbelievable structure set in the downtown area of the city and is right on the coast of Lake Erie. The building houses more than 55,000 square feet of exhibition space, as well as offices, a cafe and gift shop.
Even though the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation started in 1983 without a building or museum, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum opened in 1995 and since then, over 10 Million visitors have toured the Museum. It is a very large museum to tour. We were there nearly 5 hours and could have stayed longer. There are seven floors to the Museum each with it’s own uniqueness. It includes exhibits on the roots of rock and includes country, bluegrass, folk, rhythm and blues and gospel.
This museum and exhibits is a true history of the United States during the 50’s thru the 80’s and more ! They deal with many of the issues of the day including this country’s involvement in wars, the racial issues, women’s issues and Gay issues. In the main exhibit downstairs you can see dozens and dozens of original costumes worn by entertainers. Also in the exhibit are instruments that the entertainers used.
[caption id="attachment_42103" align="alignleft" width="250"] Photo by Robert Caplin[/caption]
There is one special room for Elvis that has a seated area and memorabilia and an ongoing movie for visitors to see. There are several short movies in theatres for visitors to learn about the history of Rock and Roll as well. Room after room after room, visitors are amazed at all the different items on display. All of the visitors felt a real sense of comradery as we were all there to visit history. In addition to their regular exhibits they have special exhibits that are featured throughout the year. This is simply a MUST SEE MUSUEM !
For the LGBT Community there are dozens of exhibits and artifacts on display. Rock and Roll DID change American concerning the LGBT community. There are dozens of original posters announcing and promoting an up coming event. We were quite amused seeing one for Little Richard who was performing in concert many years ago and it says “Admission: $2.50, Colored Spectators: $1.50” And to that we say THANK YOU Little Richard! Of course the Village People are featured as well. Many LGBT entertainers are featured. And yes, Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out’ which still stands as an anthem for the LGBT community is there as well as Stonewall and one great quote which reads in part, ” and a certificate on paper Isn’t going to solve it all, but it’s a damn good start.” from the song by Macklemore and Lewis. There is also a special large sign that reads:
“ROCK CELEBRATES DIVERSITY: Many well-known artists came out as gay during the 1990’s including singer-songwriter Melissa Etheridge, Queen’s Freddie Mercury and metal god Rob Halford of Judas Priest. In November 1991, Mercury revealed that he was infected with HIV. He died a day later, becoming the first major rock star to die of AIDS. The success of and controversy generated by gay-friendly artists such as Lady gaga with her stand on the military’s policy on LGBT service members and Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s ‘Same Love’ – a song in support of same-sex marriage – shows that rock and the LGBT community have a vibrant and vital relationship.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Museum’s Library and archives is the world’s largest repository of materials related to the history of rock and roll. Upon exiting the Museum, be sure and visit the tour bus owned by Johnny Cash and his wife, June Carter.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is located at 1100 Rock and Roll Boulevard, which is East 9th Street. (note: when driving there downtown go to EAST 9th Street and not West 9th Street as we did). Their website is: www.rockhall.com
and their phone number is: 216.781.7625. They are open every day from 10 AM to 5:30 PM.
Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!
TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).
Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at [email protected]
and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/
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