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Rock Hall receives $5 million endowment for upcoming reconstruction

Rachel Hunt

Issue date: 9/10/10 Section: Focus
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In 1995, Green Day released Dookie, MTV hadn't yet hired Carson Daily, R.E.M. got sick on Monster, and Tupac was in jail. Michael Jackson was still making hits, Alanis Morrisette took a Jagged Little Pill, and Bob Dylan made sweet music touring with Patti Smith. Fifteen years ago, The Cleveland Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened its doors to the world and set its sights on becoming one of the most visited tourists' attractions in the United States. Cleveland rocks, right?

But when opening a museum based on free-spirit and the raucous rebellion that became musical genius, how do you organize or create a business plan? At 15, many of us still had not managed to score a first job or date to the winter formal, but with a new $5 million endowment this month, it looks like age 15 is going to be pretty stellar for the Rock Hall.

Attracting almost 7 million visitors per year, the museum brings in an estimated $107 million dollars annually to the Cleveland economy. According to their annual report, they saw 10 percent more visitors in 2009 than in previous years, with 477,800 fans visiting Cleveland. The Rock Hall is also a major employer in the area, hiring everyone from teachers, curators, radio personalities, not to mention retail and maintenance positions. Originally designed by I.M. Pei (who was in charge of additions to the Louvre and National Galleries in D.C.), the Rock Hall is getting ready to start a major renovation. When completed, the museum will usher the yearly Induction Ceremony back to Cleveland from New York. This revamp is part of an almost $35 million plan to increase educational programming, develop the Rock Hall library and archives, and establish an operating reserve.

With $38.2 million in revenue coming in from 2009, the $5 million endowment to the museum may not seem like much, but it will help the Rock Hall complete the last phase of fundraising for the reconstruction project, which is scheduled to finish in 2012. The money came from funds raised at the 25th Anniversary Hall of Fame concert in Madison Square Garden. Bruce Springsteen, U2, and Mick Jagger performed to celebrate the 25th year since the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation was created.
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