Rock and Roll Hall of Fame celebrates all-things music with virtual tours, interviews and performances
Set against the backdrop of Lake Erie, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame stands proudly as a beacon for everything the world loves about music.
Their mission statement is blunt and right on: “Rock connects us. Our mission is clear: to engage, teach, and inspire through the power of rock and roll. We share stories of the people, events, and songs that shape our world through exhibits, innovative programs, and concerts.”
But how does an organization whose sole mission is to bring people together through music cope with a crisis like COVID-19 that forces people apart? They go back to their roots and harness technology to project the best of rock and roll to the masses.
How the rock and roll hall of fame landed in Cleveland
When music industry leaders proposed a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, cities throughout the nation lined up. And residents and city officials in Cleveland, Ohio, made a passionate pitch for why the museum should be in their city.
After all, Cleveland is the “birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll,” as a historical marker in front of the museum recalls. Radio station disc jockey Alan Freed used the term “rock and roll” to describe the uptempo black rhythm and blues records he played in the early 1950s. The popularity of Freed’s nightly radio show, “Moon Dog House Rock and Roll Party,” reached across racial barriers. It was enough to push him to organize the Moondog Coronation Ball — the first rock concert. The sold-out show packed the Cleveland Arena on March 21, 1952.
More than 40 years later, Cleveland won the bid as the host city of the museum, the now famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The doors to the long-awaited museum opened on September 2nd, 1995. It was an opening ceremony like none other, with a concert featuring performances by Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, James Brown, Bob Dylan, and many other musical greats.
Get to know your music history
Nothing about the Rock Hall’s mission has changed. Its leaders are still just as dedicated to connecting people through music — and they’re successful at it, too.
Part of that effort includes the museum’s free online learning platform, Rock Hall EDU, which brings continued education directly to students and educators.
Rock Hall EDU features professionally developed lesson plans, videos, activities, and other resources. It’s just one more way the music community doggedly fights to keep the arts as an integral part of public education.
The subject matter even extends beyond music and the arts to include English, STEAM topics, social studies, and more.
Customize your virtual tour
Because rock and roll lovers can’t be physically present to tour exhibits and attend concerts, the Rock Hall team collected a wide range of virtual tours and resources. Now, all of them are available on the museum’s website, rockhall.com.
They’ve opened footage for induction ceremonies over the past 34 years, giving fans a never-before-seen look at Hall of Fame programs with essays from music journalists and educators.
Rock lovers can peruse videos, playlists, and interviews on the museum website, along with unique virtual tours created by the museum staff.
Tour options include:
- “Staff Picks,” featuring some of the staff’s favorite artifacts;
- “Play it Loud,” with a focus on instruments;
- “Women Who Rock,” offering a closer look at the women of rock and roll;
- and virtual tourists can even structure their tour around a favorite band or artist.
Induction ceremony postponed
The coronavirus pandemic has forced Rock Hall to make a few changes. Among them is the postponement of its annual induction ceremony, a hallowed event at the Rock Hall and that was scheduled for May 2. It has been rescheduled for Nov. 7.
HBO will broadcast the ceremony live at 8 pm EST. It is expected to be one of the most watched induction ceremonies in the museum’s 25 year history.
It will take a lot more than a pandemic to keep the Rock Hall from entertaining and educating fans.
As the ’50s rock band Danny and the Juniors famously sang, “Rock and roll is here to stay.”