The future Illinois Rock & Roll Museum on Route 66 is close to naming its first class of Hall of Fame inductees.
Voting continues until Feb. 14, when the inductees will be announced, said Ron Romero, director of the museum scheduled to open in downtown Joliet this year.
“Everyone who is a charter member gets a vote on who the inductees will be,” Romero said.
The museum is combining a membership drive with the selection of first Hall of Fame Class.
People who register for membership online can vote on the first class until the morning of Feb. 14. Individual memberships are $35 while rates vary for seniors, families, students and teachers.
Those interested can visit the museum website, roadtorock.org, to check out the 20 nominees in the performers category. Chicago, Lionel Richie and Smashing Pumpkins are included among the bands and performers with Illinois roots and connections.
Other categories are radio stations, disc jockeys, clubs and nonperformers, which have two nominees each.
An induction ceremony will be held March 29 at the Renaissance Center.
Romero said the museum is hearing from bands on its Hall of Fame nominee list, some of which may be represented at the ceremony.
“A lot of them are making arrangements to possibly be here if they can,” he said.
An opening date has not been set for the museum, which will be located at 9 W. Cass St., and construction at the site has not begun. But Romero said he is confident the first floor of the museum will open this year because of the level of donations rolling in.
“We’re in the building. We’re doing some prep work before construction starts,” Romero said. “We’re still in fundraising mode.”
The museum has more than 350 members now. While the museum will be devoted to Illinois’ place in rock ‘n’ roll history, members are registering from Washington, Texas, Florida and several other states.
“Even Cleveland, Ohio,” Romero said, noting the hometown of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. “We’re excited to have people joining us from across the country.”
The museum operators plan to use all three floors of the building on Cass Street, although not on opening day.
“The plan is to get the first floor open this year and the second and third floors the following year,” Romero said.
The museum has been in the works since at least 2017, when Romero announced his plans to create a venue that would commemorate rock 'n' roll musicians with Illinois connections.