Letters written by Madonna, a tour video of the Rolling Stones and stage set designs for a David Bowie gig, all of these items have until been kept away from prying eyes; until now.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland has this week opened its new library and archives to the public, allowing anyone and everyone to delve into music history.
Staff have been cataloguing items for years and the collection already includes more than 3,500 books, 1,400 audio recordings and 270 videos. And this number is growing as more items will be added as they become catalogued.
Photos, albums, covers, scrap books, movie posters and memorabilia are also included in the vast collection.
Andy Leach, director of the library and archives, said: “We hope to serve music scholars, teachers, students and the general public.”
“We hope to see all of them here,” he added, explaining that the museum hopes to be a “serious place of research”.
The building doesn’t get its official opening until April 9th, but the public can take a look inside from this week. They can’t take out any of the items though.
Other invaluable items in the archives include a handwritten song list by Elvis Presley and personal letters from Mick Jagger and Aretha Franklin.
They could be used for music students and researchers, or even by set designers seeking inspiration for a tour.
Speaking to the Associated Press, Steve Waksman, an associate professor of music and American studies at Smith College in Massachusetts, described his time studying at the library before publishing his book on American live music.
“It was very useful, with material that I haven’t found anywhere else,” he explained.
Nearby at the museum, memorabilia from past and present is housed over seven floors. Collections include a Yamaha piano used by John Lennon and Michael Jackson’s glove used during the performance of Billie Jean on his Dangrous tour.
The Hall of Fame began inducting musicians in 1986.