JOLIET, IL — The Illinois Rock & Roll Museum in downtown Joliet is getting closer and closer to opening. On Friday afternoon, city planner Jayne Bernhard along with Joliet City Council members Mike Turk and Bettye Gavin presented museum founder Ron Romero with a historic preservation plaque. Romero plans to display the historic designation plaque on the facade of his building at 9 West Cass St. His new museum is next to Juliet’s Tavern.

Romero has been busy the past two years undertaking massive interior renovations to the building, which was built in the late 1920s and opened in 1930. Romero, like everyone, was slowed by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic last year. However, he told Joliet Patch on Friday that he hopes to have the grand opening for the first floor of his museum before the end of the year.

So far, Romero has received about $300,000 of in-kind donations from contractors. He said that Joliet area union contractors have been tremendous, and they’ve really been stepping up in recent months to help make the Illinois Rock & Roll Museum into a reality.

The Illinois Rock & Roll Museum is a non-profit entity and Romero has not received any funding subsidies from the city of Joliet or other local government agencies.

Ron Romero hopes to open his Illinois Rock & Roll Museum in downtown Joliet before the end of 2021. John Ferak/Patch

The first floor includes a radio station as well as memorabilia collected from several famous Illinois musicians and bands including Cheap Trick, Buddy Guy, Styx, REO Speedwagon and Chicago. The Illinois Rock & Roll Museum gift shop will also be on the first floor as will a large exhibit area focused on guitars.

The basement of the three-story building has a stage and small auditorium to seat about 85 people for live music concerts. The other area of the basement will be used for music education classes for Joliet area children.

“The Illinois Rock & Roll Museum on Route 66 exists to preserve the history of music with Illinois ties while educating visitors about our rich music history,” Romero’s Facebook page informs fans.

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