“In the garage, I feel safe, no one cares about my ways, in the garage where I belong, no one hears me sing this song.”
-Weezer

The garage: A science lab for budding musicians. How many bands; how many Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductees can trace their humble beginning back to a garage? Too many to count!

The entire second floor of the Rock & Hall Hall of Fame and Museum is now dedicated to its newest exhibit, THE GARAGE! This unique space, designed to mimic the same surroundings one’s favorite rockstar got their start in and has REAL instruments that museum visitors can REALLY learn to play some classic tunes.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame CEO Greg Harris explains to CleveRock, “This is a place where people can actually learn how to play instruments, they can learn how to play a song, they can design their own band logo, and, if things go right, they can all jam together and just have a blast.”

Interviews with Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris and others as well as a sneak preview of the museum’s newest exhibit, THE GARAGE! Put together by our Managing Editor’s nonprofit organization, SHAPE CLEVELAND

As to why the exhibit was created, Harris added that it was all about listening to visitor feedback.

“This museum is 24-years-old. We’ve had 13 million visitors come through our doors, they’ve had a great time. They’ve looked at exhibits, they’ve looked at artifacts, they’ve been moved, but there was no place in the museum for them to actually touch instruments and be immersive,” he explained. “We asked visitors throughout the years ‘What is that you want to do at the museum that you can’t do now?’ They said they want more behind the scenes, more of the inside story, and we actually want to be able to touch things.”

Nwaka Onwusa, Director of Curatorial Affairs adds, “This exhibit has been in the works for three plus years, where we wanted to give fans a more interactive experience. ‘How do we engage visitors as they are coming in?’ It’s great to see this today! Being a curator, you see all of the cool posters around you, it was a team effort with the staff. 6,000 square feet of interactive engagement for the fans. Basically, we are in the garage,” she says. “This is an opportunity for visitors and fans of music to not only see cool artifacts, but to play instrumentation here. Whether you want to play on the keys, pick up a guitar, bang on the drums, you’ll all have an opportunity to do that. It’s not just for fun, but it’s an educational experience as well.”

Speaking of education, we checked in with Director of Education, Mandy Smith, who elaborated, “If you’ve never picked up a guitar or sat behind a drumset, or touched a keyboard, within five minutes you can actually totally rock out to a classic rock song that you totally know and love,” she promised. “If you’re more of an intermediate player, or if you’re just getting started, maybe you played in college, you can take some intermediate lessons as well.”

The instruments fans can come on aren’t those unbranded $99 instruments beginners can pick up at Guitar Center, either. “The instruments that are in this space right now are deliberate. There’s Fenders, Telecasters, and Stratocasters, which are the exact instruments that Jimi Hendrix or Bruce Springsteen would have played,” Harris added. “These aren’t low-end models. These are the real deal!”

The exhibit is now open and is included with museum admission. More information can be found at RockHall.com