Since its opening 1891, playing Carnegie Hall has been a symbolic achievement for any musician. All the greats of the 20th century from across genres have played the hall, from Pyotr Tchaikovsky (who opened the hall) to Billie Holiday, to Led Zeppelin. A place so significant in musical and cultural history needs a museum, and in 1991 the hall opened the small Rose Museum to capture just a fraction of the history that has been made in the world's most famous venue.
What You Will See
Music, by its very nature, is hard to capture in a museum. The Rose instead focuses on history. The small gallery charts the timeline of Carnegie Hall itself, from its original construction to the early efforts to save the venue from demolition after the opening of Lincoln Center, up to contemporary preservation effort. A separate timeline lists key performances, together with pieces of musical history, like Benny Goodman's clarinet, a jacket worn by Judy Garland, and a baton used by Toscanini. A third section contains original ticket stubs and concert programs in front of a wall lined with albums recorded at Carnegie Hall.
Why You Should Go
The best way to experience Carnegie Hall is a concert. The next best option is on through one of the ticketed guided tours (which end at the Rose Museum). But if you do not have time (or money) for either, the Rose Museum can be visited independently and for free. But be warned: the magnitude of the history of Carnegie Hall is powerfully and effectively conveyed in a just a few small exhibitions and might be all the convincing you need to splurge for a ticket or a tour. Stop by and soak in just a small portion of this venue's astounding history.