“We are open for business and spreading the joy and power of rock ’n’ roll.” – CEO Greg Harris
By Trent Sell
In downtown Cleveland, Ohio, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame reopened it’s doors to the public. The museum opened up on June 14 after being closed for months due to the Coronavirus.
The past few months
During an interview with The Oakland Press, CEO Greg Harris explained what they have been up to during the closure. After the unfortunate reality of furloughing their public-facing staff, the core team did a lot behind the scenes. They increased their digital content output and made a number of upgrades to the museum.
“We ramped up our educational outreach to teachers, and some of the numbers we were seeing (were huge): 15 million YouTube views in the month of April alone — 750,000 hours,” Harris said. Improvements include touch-free ticketing systems, sliding doors, and an update to their retail business. “Now we’re excited to host people in the museum,” said the CEO.
Virus safety measures
In addition to the CDC, the museum has been working closely to follow Ohio and the American Association of Museum Director’s guidelines. The museum has required visitors to wear a mask when inside, along with capacity limits. “When you enter the museum, there’s a temperature scan to make sure that you’re not running a fever, which (suggests) you’re actively infected, and we ask you a series of health questions,” Harris explained. “Once you’re inside, then the mask is required. On our plaza, it’s not required.”
Despite the inconvenience of wearing masks, Harris said they have received zero pushback during their first two days open.
“And when people buy their tickets in advance, which is required — we’re registering in advance — they agree to that. I think everybody really cares about the health and safety of each other.”
The museum has been able to extend the massive Play it Loud exhibit, allowing more people to see it in person. See Bruce Springsteen’s guitar or the eclectic costumes of Prince up close, with instruments spanning from 1939 to the present.
Other plans include outdoor concerts in July. Harris said in the interview, “Our plaza is massive, and then we have a large grassy field next to us at the lakefront that’s ours, as well, so we’re confident we can spread people out and provide safe social distancing.” Harris was hesitant to confirm if November’s induction ceremony would take place. He said an announcement would hopefully be made in July.
“We’re going to have an announcement at the end of June/early July as to whether that date’s going to hold or whether we’re going to be looking at some alternative plan.”