Bruce Springsteen will be the subject of a unique exhibition at the Monmouth County Historical Association Museum in his hometown of Freehold next fall.
“Springsteen: His Hometown” will take a comprehensive look at the rock icon’s life and his impact on music and culture. It will be the largest exhibition drawn from the artifacts of The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University (The Archives) ever to be mounted in the Boss’s home state and will be exhibited in Freehold, town he called home from his birth until his late teens. The exhibit’s unveiling will coincide with the artist’s 70th birthday as well as the centennial of Freehold Borough.
Items included in the exhibition will range from personal scrapbooks handmade by Springsteen’s mother to alternate album covers never before seen by the public. Oral histories from The Archives will lend unique perspectives from those in Springsteen’s orbit (and legends in their own right), including Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer Vini “Mad Dog” Lopez, surfing legend and early Bruce manager Carl “Tinker” West, “Born to Run” drummer Ernest “Boom” Carter, and more.
“Springsteen: His Hometown” will be curated by Melissa Ziobro, Monmouth University’s Specialist Professor of Public History in conjunction with The Archives. She was also recently guest curator of MCHA’s critically acclaimed “Tracking Sandy: Monmouth County Remembers.” Since 2016, Ziobro’s classes have been working with The Archives on various projects.
“Now I look forward to partnering with MCHA to interpret the collection for the widest audience possible,” Ziobro said. “I am honored and excited to have unfettered access to The Archives for this exhibition.”
Eileen Chapman, director of The Archives and Robert Santelli, founding director of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles will also serve as advisors to the exhibit.
“We are thrilled that two distinguished authorities in all things Springsteen have accepted Professor Ziobro’s request to contribute their expertise to the exhibit” said MCHA Board of Trustee’s President Linda Bricker. “Our goal is to ensure that ‘Springsteen: His Hometown’ truly captures the essence of “the Boss” in a unique and engaging way.”
In 2011, the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection, a fan-curated Archive comprised of nearly 35,000 items from 47 countries, ranging from books and concert memorabilia to articles and promotional materials, was presented to Monmouth University. Then, in 2017, a new partnership to expand this special collection into The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music was announced. Now, with Springsteen’s collaboration, the Center serves as the official archival repository for his written works, photographs, periodicals, and artifacts. Access to The Archives is designed to stimulate academic discourse and discussion; and provide entertainment, knowledge, and insight into the works of Bruce Springsteen as well as explore the influence of other legendary figures of American music on developing his unique perspective.
In addition to her work at Monmouth University, Melissa Ziobro serves on the Executive Board of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region; as a Trustee of the Parker Homestead in Little Silver, NJ and Ocean County Historical Society; as well as the editor for New Jersey Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, a joint venture of the NJ Historical Commission, Rutgers University Libraries, and Monmouth University. She has consulted with public history organizations such as the Monmouth County Park System, InfoAge Science History Learning Center and Museum, Monmouth County Historical Commission, Middlesex County Office of Culture and Heritage, and National Guard Militia Museum of NJ. A command historian at the US Army Communications-Electronics Command, Fort Monmouth, NJ from 2004-2011, Ziobro is the recipient of a 2018 award of recognition from the NJ Historical Commission.
Eileen Chapman is the Director of The Bruce Springsteen Archives & Center for American Music at Monmouth University. She was a founding member of the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation; a founding Member and Coordinator of the Riverfest Jazz and Blues Festival in Red Bank, NJ; Entertainment Director of the Clearwater Festival, Croton-on-Hudson, NY; and former general manager of several entertainment venues including the Stone Pony and the Fast Lane, both in Asbury Park.
The founding director of the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles, Robert Santelli previously served as Vice President of Education and Public Programs at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio; and as the CEO and Artistic Director of the Experience Music Project in Seattle, Washington, where he guided the creation of more than 30 exhibits including “Bob Dylan’s American Journey, 1956-1966.” He is the author of more than a dozen music related books and a contributor to magazines such as Rolling Stone. His 2006 book Greetings from E Street: The Story of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band captured the band’s roller coaster ride to stardom. Mr. Santelli is an alumnus of Monmouth University.
“Springsteen: His Hometown” will remain on view through Fall 2020 at the Monmouth County Historical Association Museum at 70 Court Street, Freehold, NJ 07728. For more information visit www.monmouthhistory.org or call 732-462-1466, ext. 19.