Rock Hall opens most comprehensive Beatles exhibit as part of museum redesign

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum's first redesign in its 15-year history is nearly complete and includes several vibrant new exhibit spaces, state-of-the-art interactive technology and lighting, improved way-finding and hundreds of new artifacts, including the most comprehensive collection of Beatles' items; a number of which are on display to the public for the first time.

"The Rock Hall's extensive redesign includes the most comprehensive, artifact-driven Beatles exhibit in the world," said Jim Henke, the Museum's Vice President of Exhibitions. "For many years now, we have been fortunate to have a great relationship with Yoko Ono, which enabled us to have many John Lennon artifacts. This time around, we were able to work with Ringo Starr and with George Harrison's estate, so they are well-represented in the exhibit. We also worked with some collectors who had other key Beatles pieces, and before we knew it, we had an absolutely incredible collection."

The new Beatles exhibit is the crown jewel of an extensive museum restructuring that has three primary goals:  to improve the visitor experience via enhanced way-finding, to tell the story of rock and roll in a more chronological fashion and to upgrade all Museum exhibits to state-of-the-art technology.


The exhibit includes nearly 70 artifacts, including a few that have not been exhibited before:

George Harrison's striped suit from the 1966 US tour

Ringo Starr's red military-style jacket from the "Strawberry Fields Forever" promo film

John Lennon's black wool coat worn in Help!

Paul McCartney's handwritten arrangement for "Birthday"

Additional highlights include:

-      John Lennon's Gibson J-160E acoustic guitar. Lennon used this guitar to record "Norwegian Wood" and "Give Peace a Chance" and numerous other classics.

-      George Harrison's Rickenbacker 425 electric guitar. Harrison purchased the guitar in 1963 on his first visit to the U.S. He played it throughout the fall of 1963.

-      Ringo Starr's "drop-T" Beatles logo drum head from the kit he used on the Ed Sullivan Show in February 1964

-      Paul McCartney's jacket from Help!

-      A page from Stuart Sutcliffe's sketch pad that shows his self-portraits, his illustration of John Lennon and Lennon's illustration of Sutcliffe.


Ahmet M. Ertegun Main Exhibition Hall:

·    The Mystery Train Theater received a new marquee and state-of-the-art theater technology.

·    The Early Influences exhibit has been completely updated with six interactive displays and listening stations.

·    Roots of Rock and Roll consists of exhibit cases devoted to rock and roll's roots: gospel, blues, country/folk/bluegrass and R&B. The exhibit space includes a variety of artifacts and a new video element with music from key artists.

·    Cities and Sounds exhibit has been completely renewed and includes a new heavy-metal exhibit, Bang Your Head, with more than 25 artifacts including stage outfits and handwritten lyrics.

·    On the Air: Rock and Roll and Radio is a state-of-the-art interactive kiosk that explores numerous disc jockeys who introduced millions of listeners to rock and roll, rhythm & blues, hip-hop, funk, folk and more.

·    New exhibits devoted to celebrating music of the Midwest- Kick Out the Jams and Cleveland Rocks! - have been installed.

Main Lobby:

·    New ticketing system, information desk and dedicated member services window in the main entrance lobby.

·    Elvis and Jimi Hendrix way-finding banners installed to better direct visitors to the ticketing counter and to the Ahmet M. Ertegun Exhibit Hall on the lower level.

Level 2:

·    Seven interactive kiosks containing the popular Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll and One-Hit Wonders programs consisting of nearly 1000 songs that have shaped popular music.

·    Dramatic, larger than life-size images of iconic Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees:  Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Prince, Joe Strummer, Patti Smith and the Supremes.

·    State-of-the-art listening stations have been installed in the Architects of Rock and Roll exhibit.

Level 3:

·    New design elements that establish the Hall of Fame as a focal point of the Museum.

·    A 50-foot red carpet now leads visitors to the Hall of Fame, along with vibrant red signage to identify the wing.

·    Updated state of the art technology within the Hall of Fame.

The Museum redesign has been planned and executed over the past nine months to provide as little disruption to the visitor experience as possible. Eighty percent of the redesign is now complete. The final phase will include ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­ a new video wall and an expanded Legends of Rock exhibit in the main exhibit hall. The redesign will be complete in time for the return of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremonies to Cleveland in 2012.

The redesign was funded by the Rock Hall's $35 million capital campaign, which is also being used to fund the construction and operation of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Library & Archives. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation has committed $8 million to the campaign. Other leadership supporters have included The Cleveland Foundation, Cuyahoga County Community College, Forest City RMS Foundations, Gregg and Madelyn Foster, The George Gund Foundation, Kulas Foundation, John P. Murphy Foundation, Medical Mutual of Ohio and the State of Ohio.

The Museum, along with support from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation in New York City, is working with Cleveland architectural firm Westlake Reed Leskosky and construction managers The Albert M. Higley Co. to carry out the redesign project.

About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.

The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Wednesdays, the Museum is open until 9 p.m. Museum admission is $22 for adults, $18 for adult residents of Greater Cleveland, $17 for seniors (65+), $13 for youth (9-12), children under 8 and Museum Members are always free, for information or to join the membership program call 216.515.8425. For general inquiries, please call 216.781.ROCK(7625) or visit The Museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.