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Published: 8/31/2010

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is going strong, 15 years after opening

Published: Sunday, August 29, 2010, 8:00 PM

John Soeder, The Plain Dealer 

Rock 'n' roll is, among other things, the soundtrack to several generations of teenage rebellion. Unpredictable. Unrelenting. And, perhaps at its best, more than a little uncontrollable. It makes you wonder: How, then, did the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum end up so . . . respectable?

In the throes of its own adolescence, this Cleveland landmark is showing remarkable signs of maturity. The Rock Hall turns 15 this week. And there is much to celebrate. The not-for-profit institution is on solid financial ground, thanks to the establishment of a $5 million endowment. Attendance is up. And an overdue redesign of the museum interior is right around the corner, while the hall's long-awaited library and archives are taking shape.

"We've managed to do incredibly well over the past few years," said Terry Stewart, president and CEO of the Rock Hall.

"The museum is in better shape financially now than it has been in over a decade. We're very proud of that, and it allows us to take advantage of a lot of opportunities and understand where the museum can go in the future."

To mark its 15th anniversary, the museum will host a Rock Hall Ball on Friday evening, with live music by alternative-rock band Foxy Shazam, DJ Tommie Sunshine and soulful singer-songwriter Eli "Paperboy" Reed.

The party will be preceded by a VIP reception for U.S. Sen. George Voinovich. As mayor of Cleveland in the 1980s and governor of Ohio in the 1990s, Voinovich was instrumental in getting the Rock Hall built here.

As part of the festivities, the museum is naming a gallery in honor of the late Leo Mintz, owner of Cleveland's Record Rendezvous store. Along with Cleveland disc jockey Alan Freed, Mintz was a key figure in popularizing rock 'n' roll here -- and beyond.

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