The exhibit “Springsteen: His Hometown” opened to much fanfare at the Monmouth County Historical Association (MCHA) at 70 Court Street in Freehold in late September. Co-curated by Professor Melissa Ziobro of the Department of History and Anthropology and MCHA Curator of Collections Bernadette Rogoff, with support from Eileen Chapman and Bob Santelli of the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University, the exhibit started as a class project in Ziobro’s fall 2018 museums and archives class. It features over 150 items from the Springsteen Archives and guitars, clothing, jewelry, and other items from Springsteen himself—who joined the curators and guests at the exhibit preview party on Saturday, Sept. 28. The exhibit has enjoyed much local and national news coverage thus far. It will be open through fall 2020.
About the Springsteen Archives
The original collection of archives was started by Chris Phillips, editor of Backstreets Magazine, in 2001. A group known as the Friends of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection, Inc. later emerged to help manage and grow what would be known as the “Bruce Springsteen Special Collection.” The Friends group ran out of storage space and Monmouth University offered to give the Collection a home in 2011. When the Collection arrived at Monmouth, it included about 15,000 items from around the globe, ranging from books and concert memorabilia, to articles and promotional materials. Today, the Collection includes nearly 50,000 items. Thanks to Phillips and the Friends group’s efforts, and to Monmouth University, the collection found a permanent home.
On Jan. 10, 2017, a new partnership to create The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University was announced. The Bruce Springsteen Archives maintains the original Friends collection and also serves as the official archival repository for Springsteen’s own written works, photographs, periodicals, and artifacts. The Center preserves and promotes the legacy of Springsteen and his role in American music, while honoring and celebrating icons of American music like Woody Guthrie, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams, Frank Sinatra, and others.