Rock archives coming to Cleveland

Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will expand later this year with the opening of its $12 million library and archives.

Cleveland's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame will expand later this year with the opening of a $12 million library and archives.

Jim Morrison's first poem, letters from Patti Smith and video of the 1981-82 Rolling Stones tour are among the artifacts that are going to be made public in the new building.

The museum has thousands of such artifacts, many of them donated by rock artists and hall of fame wannabes.

But the I.M. Pei-designed Rock and Roll Hall of Fame only displays a handful of the most popular, including Michael Jackson's Thriller jacket and John Lennon's Sgt. Pepper's uniform. The museum also curates one-off exhibitions devoted to individual artists.

Architect Robert Madison, who designed the new library and archives, said it is designed to preserve artifacts and provide a place for scholarship, rather than become another rock shrine.

The high-tech building is shared with Cleveland's Cuyahoga Community College, which has a media and recording arts program.

The library will be a comprehensive repository of rock, said Deborah Campana, librarian of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. Students will play a role in cataloguing collections, as well as studying the material, she said.

Beyond its research value to scholars, the library should also appeal to rock fans, Campana said.

"They've grown up loving it and when they see the artifacts associated with it, it takes their appreciation to a whole new level," she said.

The museum has begun moving photos, recordings, albums and covers, oral histories, scrapbooks and other materials into the new space, which is two miles from the rock museum itself.

All records will be digitized and there will be a catalogue of posters.