Cleveland Connects: Rock On A Roll

Construction on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum began with great fanfare 25 years ago, and yet the project’s success was anything but assured. It had taken seven years from Cleveland’s selection as the host city simply to break ground. Some skeptics questioned the value of a museum devoted to such an ephemeral art form – while others doubted that any “hall of fame” could truly capture rock’s spirit of rebellion. The museum’s New York and Cleveland backers took turns doubting each other’s commitment and capacity. Clevelanders afflicted with the city’s notorious inferiority complex worried that the project might flop, leaving behind nothing but debt and an empty glass house on the water’s edge.

Today, the museum is a Cleveland icon – albeit one that’s aggressively reinventing itself to enhance visitor appeal, better connect with the community it calls home, and remain relevant to generations for whom Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry seem as distant as George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.

As the museum and the city prepare to host induction ceremonies for the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018, ideastream and will once again come together under the banner of Cleveland Connects, sponsored by PNC, to produce content and host a lively community conversation that examines the museum’s sometimes bumpy road from idea to reality, its impact on the city of Cleveland and its future direction. At a time when other major Cleveland institutions such as the Museum of Art have been celebrating centennials, we ask whether the rock hall can match their staying power – and look at the ongoing planning to make that happen.

  • Greg Harris – CEO, Rock Hall
  • Dave Abbott – Executive Director, The Gund Foundation
  • Dennis Barrie – Rock Hall Co-Creator & former Executive Director
  • Martha Reeves – Rock Hall inductee, Class of 1995

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