Cleveland’s Rock Hall of Fame to Undergo Facelift

Thu May 10, 2007 - Midwest Edition
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CLEVELAND (AP) The designer of a planned $3 million renovation to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum wants to create a concert-type atmosphere that better shows the evolution of rock and roll.

“I want there to be more of the feeling in your stomach when you go to a rock n’ roll concert, rather than having everything laid out as if it were the history of white and blue porcelain from China,” said Edwin Schlossberg, founder and principal designer at ESI Designs, which has been tapped by the New York-based Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation to lead the project.

Preliminary details call for making exhibitions at the 150,000 sq.-ft. (13,900 sq m) museum more vibrant and easier for visitors to navigate. Construction will be done in phases, from January through March 2008, in hopes of avoiding a complete shutdown during the renovation.

Rock Hall administrators wanted “to improve the visitor experience, to give visitors an even greater sense of where the music came from, how it evolved and where it’s going and to lead them better through the museum,” said President and Chief Executive Officer Terry Stewart.

The main exhibition hall will feature a more chronological history of rock and roll and a new gallery, and groundbreaking artists likely will be featured on the second floor, Stewart said. The exterior of the building, designed by renowned architect I.M. Pei, will not change, he said.

Administrators also want to enhance the museum’s audio visual systems and make it easier for visitors to find the Hall of Fame, which moved in 1998 from the top floor to a spot past the museum’s third-floor cafe.

“The Hall of Fame is set in a position where it’s missed by some visitors,” Stewart said. “They don’t make the little detour by the cafe.”

Schlossberg, whose New York-based firm also designed the American Family Immigration History Center on Ellis Island and the Children’s Museum of Los Angeles, said he hadn’t drawn up specific plans for the project. But having visited the Rock Hall several times, he had a feel for the changes he wanted to make, he said.

“I still have to design it,” he said. “But I can tell you where I want it to go. … The idea is changing how things are displayed, to make it less formal, more surprising.”

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