I was flipping through the cable channels the other night when I came across the movie School of Rock. While it’s not my favorite Jack Black flick (that would be High Fidelity where he plays a serious rock-and-roll record snob, something to which I can relate), it got me thinking about Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, a place that ranks as a truly extraordinary experience for any serious student of rock music.
Unlike your typical dusty museum, the I. M. Pei-designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame feels as vibrantly alive as the music history it chronicles. Its 55,000-plus square-feet of exhibit space contain thousands of remarkable artifacts that span more than a half-century and countless musical styles from Motown and rockabilly to psychedelic and punk. On my last visit I found the place stuffed to the rafters with items I’d always heard about but never imagined I’d see in person, including a recreation of Sam Philips’ famous Sun Studios where Elvis cut his first hit record and Jimmy Hendrix’s 1965 Fender Stratocaster.
If the museum’s constantly changing exhibits aren’t enough to get you to load up your own Mirthmobile for the roadtrip to Cleveland, here’s another enticement: Time your visit right and you’ll also be able to catch catch any number of special events including the museum’s free concert series. Party on Garth!