On a sunny summer day, we entered the stunning I. M. Pei building, opened in 1995 to house and preserve an eccentric collection of pop-culture and music memorabilia.
With seven levels and 55,000 square feet of exhibition space, the museum felt overwhelming at first. Docents, though, were stationed throughout to help visitors navigate this massive temple to the rock 'n' roll gods.
We began — as one should — with an exhibition called "The Roots of Rock and Roll: Blues, Gospel, Country/Folk/Bluegrass and R&B," hearing snippets of signature recordings and seeing instruments and costumes used by such legends as Muddy Waters, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Mahalia Jackson. We lingered over exhibits about the bands central to our teen and college years — the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. The latter display is full of fun John Lennon artifacts, including his 1964 Gibson J-160E guitar, which he used in his "bed-in" for peace.