After almost 20 years of planning, the Long Island Music and Entertainment Hall of Fame (LIMEHOF) opens its doors. The nonprofit organization will open a two-story, 8,800-square-foot museum at 97 Main St. in Stony Brook at noon on November 25.
“I am incredibly proud that our organization created Long Island’s first Hall of Fame, and appropriately, that it celebrates Long Island’s music and entertainment heritage and future,” said Board Chairman Ernie Canadeo. “I don’t think there’s any part of the world that has produced more music and entertainment talent than Long Island. Everyone can now experience, learn, and be proud of Long Island’s contribution to world culture.”
Established in 2004, the Hall of Fame has had a few false starts over the years. In 2011, the museum was supposed to be based in Port Jefferson, but that deal fell through. In 2019, it looked like the Wyandanch Hall of Fame would be built, but plans never materialized. Finally, an agreement was reached with the Ward Melville Heritage Organization last summer to take over their former educational and cultural center premises, and LIMEHOF moved in in July. Four months later, visitors can now explore the new museum.
The museum’s first exhibition, entitled Long Island’s legendary club scene in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, will be on display on the first floor. Legacy live music venues like My Father’s Place in Roslyn, The Mad Hatter in Stony Brook, Hammerheads in Levittown and Action House/Speaks in Island Park will be the centerpiece.
“Rather than focusing on one candidate, we decided to highlight the clubs that produced all of these artists on Long Island,” says creative director Kevin O’Callaghan. “It’s a nice way of introducing the museum.”
O’Callaghan architecturally recreates the front of each club, and if visitors look through they can see live video footage of the bands that have played at the venues, including Twisted Sister, Zebra and Blue Öyster Cult.
A replica of the bar from My Father’s Place doubles as a glass case displaying memorabilia from the Long Island bar scene such as matchbooks, coasters and cocktail menus. There will also be a wall of old ticket stubs as well as a 10ft map of Long Island showing the locations of all clubs from back then.
“People really want to relive old times. Nothing beats music,” says O’Callaghan. “Hearing a song could put a smile on your face that takes you back to your old girlfriend or boyfriend. That’s what this whole first exhibition is about.”
HALL OF FAME AD
On the second floor, a permanent exhibit commemorates the more than 120 artists who make up the Hall of Fame.
“We take each initiate’s most iconic album or photo and print it onto a 16 x 16 sheet of glass with a QR code,” says O’Callaghan. “You can click the QR code with your smartphone and it will take you to the artist’s biography on our website, and you can also listen to their music on Spotify.”
LIMEHOF has acquired a variety of items from insiders for visitors to examine, such as: The Ed Sullivan Show”, Jay Jay French of Twisted Sister’s famous Destroyer guitar, Twisted Sister’s original logo background from his club days and a pair of Randy Jackson of Zebra white guitars. Joan Jett even donated her 1983 Jaguar with 10,000 miles on it.
“We get new purchases every day,” says Canadeo. “They are pouring in.”
Last year, the Hall of Fame added “entertainment” to its name to expand the organization’s list of inductees to include comedians, actors and more.
The museum has a library of computers, a small theater showing documentaries, and a permanent stage that can be used for live performances, lectures, and book signings.
“Our first floor exhibition space rotates every six months and we will be hosting various events throughout the year,” says O’Callaghan. “The key is getting people to not only attend, but to come back.”
Over the next year, LIMEHOF will be collaborating with the museum’s presenting sponsor, Catholic Health, on a new program called “Health and Harmony” to illustrate how music and art can positively impact health.
In addition, there is a gift shop for visitors to purchase various goods such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, mugs and posters, as well as vinyl albums and books.
The LIMEHOF Museum is open all year round from Wednesday to Sunday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Visit limusichalloffame.org for more information.