The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

Spotlight Exhibit: Pink Floyd's The Division Bell Sculptures

Friday, August 24: 3 p.m.
Posted by Rock Hall
Pink Floyd's Division Bell sculptures in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum

Based on a drawing by Keith Breeden and sculpted by Aden Hynes and John Robertson, the Division Bell sculptures appeared on the cover of Pink Floyd's last studio album, The Division Bell, in 1994. It was the fourth album of the band's career to reach Number One on the Billboard charts, helping make the two figures gracing the cover among Pink Floyd's most recognizable contributions to the iconography of rock and roll. Since 2001, they've also made quite an impression on visitors to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, towering atop the entrance to the Hall of Fame on the Museum's third floor. 

In 2001, the Rock Hall's VP of Exhibitions and Curatorial Jim Henke connected with Pink Floyd's management to discuss adding the famous Division Bell "heads" to the Rock Hall's collection. At the time, both sculptures were being stored in a warehouse in Bedford, England, and transporting them to Cleveland presented a number of logistical issues. Despite their imposing presence – standing approximately 20 feet tall, 8 feet wide and 4 feet deep – the base of each is a simple wooden frame, surrounded by lightweight polystyrene covered in painted fiberglass. As a result, the pair was not only unwieldy, but also brittle. Still, plans were put in place for the sculptures to make the trip to Cleveland.

pink floyd the division bell album cover sculptures storyA representative from Pink Floyd escorted the two figures from the warehouse in England to a seaport, having hired special flatbed trucks that were lowered as to safely pass beneath bridges, signs and other potential overhead impediments en route. Arriving at a dock outside of London, the Division Bell heads were carefully loaded into an open transport container and covered in plastic for their voyage across the Atlantic to New York aboard a carrier ship. "We held our breath during the trip," remembers Jun Francisco, the Rock Hall's Director of Collections. "It was out of our hands for that stretch of the journey."

Both sculptures arrived safely at the docks in New York City, where they were cleared through customs and immediately loaded on a truck for Cleveland. In October 2011, a skilled crew of engineers and maintenance staff were on hand to greet the two heads, which arrived at the Museum after hours, in a truck parked on the mall in front of the Museum.

The front doors of the Museum were completely removed to accommodate the sculptures, and the team carefully guided each through the Museum's main entrance. Working well into the night, another team was ready to man a custom rigging system that had been specially designed for the job of lifting the two massive rock and roll artifacts to their perch on the third floor of the Museum, where they've stood ever since. 

Want to know the backstory behind your favorite artifacts in the Museum? Let us know which ones in the comments section!

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