Inside the New Springsteen Archives

The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University unveils plans for its new home.

Last October, the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University announced a new 30,000-square-foot building that will house the Archives, the Center for American Music, related exhibition galleries, and a 230-seat, state-of-the-art theater. 

Designed by the acclaimed New York-based architectural firm CookFox, the building will be located on Monmouth’s campus, not far from where Springsteen wrote his landmark song, “Born to Run,” nearly 50 years ago. 

The new building will be 100% funded by external donors, and a campaign to raise the $45 million to construct the building is underway. The anticipated opening date is spring 2026. 

Bruce Springsteen standing at a podium
Bruce Springsteen was in attendance for the announcement and expressed his delight that “my archives are going to have a home right here in New Jersey.” Photo by Chris Spiegel.

“Monmouth University is excited to enrich our campus with a new home for one of the country’s premier cultural and educational institutions dedicated to preserving the legacy of Bruce Springsteen and the story of American music,” said Monmouth University President and Chair of the Archives Board Patrick F. Leahy. “This beautiful and functional facility will enhance cultural and educational opportunities in New Jersey and our region, expand academic scholarship, and position Monmouth University as a national leader in arts education.” 

The Center for American Music will feature exhibits on Springsteen and showcase diverse topics and themes in American music, while the Archives will offer visitors the chance to listen to oral histories and interviews, watch rare film footage, and explore major moments in music history.

Intimate concerts, teacher workshops, symposia, lectures, film series, and other public and educational programs will also be part of the mission of the Archives and Center for American Music. 

“Our institution will offer exciting research opportunities for students, journalists, and historians and give Springsteen fans the chance to explore his music and the role it plays in American history like never before,” added Robert Santelli ’73, ’14HN, executive director of the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music. “Teachers will also find the Archives and Center for American Music a valuable educational resource. Lesson plans, teaching strategies, and online programs will be available to teachers and enable them to bring American music into the classroom.”

From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come)

Monmouth has played an important role in Springsteen’s music history. The University was the site of many early Springsteen concerts from 1969 to 1974 and has hosted numerous Springsteen academic conferences over the years. In addition, Springsteen chose Monmouth to rehearse his “Springsteen on Broadway” show, and he has participated in numerous music-related public programs on campus.

In 2011, Monmouth began housing a significant number of Springsteen’s written works, photographs, periodicals, and artifacts. When the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music was formally established in 2017, Monmouth was designated as the official archival repository for Springsteen’s legacy and expanding its role in promoting the history and inspiration of American music. Today, the Archives house nearly 48,000 items from 47 countries ranging from articles and oral histories to concert memorabilia and promotional materials.

Springsteen, who was in attendance for the announcement, made note of his ties to the University while speaking about what the building means to him.

“At 19 … I played on these very steps out here, and so to stand here today is quite humbling knowing that I’m going to be a presence here on this campus, which I really look forward to being,” Springsteen said. “It’s deeply satisfying, and I look forward to working with everyone to make the building and this endeavor a great success.”