The ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME AND MUSEUM, located at 1 Key Plaza on the lakefront, opened in Sept. 1995 after 9 years of planning, coordination, and construction. The Rock Hall became a local reality on 5 May 1986 when its parent organization, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation (based in New York City), announced that Cleveland had been chosen as the site for the Hall of Fame. This capped off a year-long lobbying effort by Cleveland city officials, who touted the city's long-chronicled role in the history of ROCK 'N' ROLL, highlighted by Cleveland disc jockey ALAN FREED's promotion of early rock music and the Moondog Coronation Ball of March 1952.
The site for the Rock Hall was originally planned for the TOWER CITY CENTER area. In fall 1990, however, a new site situated between the E. 9th St. pier and CLEVELAND MUNICIPAL STADIUM was selected as part of the NORTH COAST HARBOR development project. Architect I.M. Pei's design of the glass-faced main building, which faces the downtown skyline, uses a pyramid shape to invoke the image of a guitar neck rising to the sky, while Key Plaza resembles a turntable. The Rock Hall opened on Labor Day weekend 1995. Inaugural festivities included the 7 1/2-hr. Concert for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, held next door at the Stadium.
The Rock Hall's exhibits and collections trace the living heritage of rock music, and its impact on American and global culture. Significant collection items include original lyric sheets, personal mementos of rock stars, costumes, recording industry memorabilia and a wide range of rock paraphernalia. The Rock Hall also features informational kiosks dedicated to individual artists and bands, interactive listening stands, topical short films, and a comprehensive archives and library. The top floor houses the formal "Hall of Fame." Dennis Barrie served as the Rock Hall's director in 1995.