By DON STINE
It will be a lot more than exhibits featuring Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi, or Southside Johnny at the Asbury Park Museum opening on the boardwalk Sat., Dec. 22 .
“There was a whole lot going on before Bruce,” said Leon Trent, a well-known Asbury Park singer and musician, who was a member of The Broadways.
The 1,400-square-foot Asbury Park Museum will open on the boardwalk Saturday from noon until 8 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting at 1:30 p.m. In addition to musical history, the museum, at 1200 Ocean Ave. in the Fifth Avenue pavilion, will be loaded with exhibits and artifacts- from legendary local people, to original Asbury Park trolley doors, to loving cups and ribbons from the city’s famous Baby Parades.
“People can take a step back in time to the founding and history of Asbury Park. We have many interesting items on display, including a heavy concentration on the musical history. We hope people turn out to learn more about the jewel of the Jersey Shore,” said museum founder Kay Harris, owner of the Asbury Galleria on the boardwalk.
Trent, who supports people visiting the museum, said there are still “many unsung cats out there with talent”
“People should come see and learn about another segment of music history in Asbury Park. The only thing a lot of people know about Asbury Park is Bruce. We love him- don’t get me wrong- but there was a lot more going on,” he said.
Music historians Charlie and Pam Horner, who curated much of the music exhibit, said they expect a number of West Side and other singers and musicians to visit the museum.
“The history goes way back,” Charlie Horner said.
Clifford Johnson, a legendary West Side saxophone player and musician, said he thinks the museum is “an excellent idea” and that he will be visiting it.
“This is long overdue because Asbury Park has so much history that will be lost if it is not documented- visually, orally or written. There is a lot of history on the West Side and the East Side,” he said.
Johnson, who is 92 and played in every club along Springwood Avenue back in the day, said that Asbury Park is now undergoing a “resurrection.”
“People are coming who never came before. But they need to know about the old times- so much of that needs to be remembered,” he said.
“So many people come to Asbury Park and know it only from the boardwalk. Many people used to go to Springwood Avenue. Having a museum would be a wonderful thing because many towns now have a museum and certainly Asbury Park is a town of note today,” he said.
After the grand opening, the museum will be open Fridays and Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. and open on Saturdays until 8 p.m.
The Asbury Park Museum is sponsored by the Asbury Galleria, in cooperation with Classic Urban Harmony founders Charlie and Pam Horner, the Asbury Park Historical Society, and the NJ Pan African Chamber of Commerce, based in Asbury Park.
But if you want to see the museum, don’t delay- it will close in the middle of March.
Harris said she approached boardwalk redeveloper Madison Marquette with the idea for a museum and, eventually, the company said it could give the space in the Fifth Avenue pavilion, but only until the middle of March.
“It is a work in progress and our long-term goal is to find a permanent home for the museum,” Harris said.
Several Asbury Park High School students have helped with the set-up of the museum. They will also work the museum gift shop to help offset the expenses of the museum.