Redesigned Rock Hall opens exhibit on The Beatles

June 8, 2011 - 10:12 AM
Rock Hall Beatles

In this June 7, 2011 photo, visitors view an exhibit on The Beatles, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland. The Rock Hall says the exhibit is the world's largest collection of items from the group, as part of a redesign. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland has opened the world's most comprehensive collection of items from The Beatles as part of the first redesign in the facility's 15-year history.

The exhibit announced Wednesday features nearly 70 items, including several that are being displayed for the first time, such as Paul McCartney's handwritten arrangement for the song "Birthday." Visitors also can see guitars played by John Lennon and George Harrison, the logo drum head from the kit that Ringo Starr used on "The Ed Sullivan Show" in February 1964, and notable clothing worn by each group member on tour or on film.

"For many years now, we have been fortunate to have a great relationship with Yoko Ono, which enabled us to have many John Lennon artifacts," said Jim Henke, vice president of exhibitions. "This time around, we were able to work with Ringo Starr and with George Harrison's estate, so they are well-represented in the exhibit. We also worked with some collectors who had other key Beatles pieces, and before we knew it, we had an absolutely incredible collection."

The items have gone on display as part of a museum redesign that is funded by part of the Rock Hall's $35 million capital campaign and is expected to be complete by next year. It includes technology upgrades and changes aimed at presenting the history of rock and roll more chronologically. Visitors can learn more through interactive kiosks and listening stations, new exhibits and oversize images of inductees like Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin. The Hall of Fame also got a bit of the Hollywood treatment with a 50-foot red carpet welcoming visitors.

The facility expects to have the final upgrades, including a new video wall, in place before the Hall of Fame Induction ceremonies in 2012.