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Springsteen Honored with Campus Exhibit

Melissa Ziobro, a Specialist Professor of Public History, in collaboration with Monmouth County Historical Association (MCHA) Curator of Collections, have formed Springsteen: His Hometown, a historical exhibit that will be displayed through Fall 2020. 

The exhibit was originally a class project for Ziobro’s Fall 2018 museums and archives course. “Their capstone project was to create an exhibit at our university library using materials from the archives. It was getting so much positive attention that I thought a bigger exhibit, over at the Monmouth County Historical Association in Bruce’s hometown of Freehold, could be a wonderful thing for the archives, Historical Association, and Bruce’s many fans. I had recently curated a super-storm Sandy exhibit for the Historical Association, so we had a rapport,” she said.

Ziobro believes this exhibit can be an asset for students who want to gain opportunity through the promotion and recognition of a diversity of cultures. “This being here brings a lot of positive attention to our university and provides many wonderful opportunities for our students- like this project,” said Ziobro. 

Each archive is a portion of former Backstreet editor, Chris Phillips collection which began in 2001. An organization named The Friends of the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection, Inc. partnered with Phillips to form the Bruce Springsteen Special Collection. 

Both groups ran out of storage space and were offered by Monmouth University to be given a new home in 2011. When the collection arrived on campus, it included over 10,000 items from around the globe, ranging from books and concert memorabilia, to articles and promotional materials.

The collection currently includes nearly 50,000 items.  Thanks to Phillips and the Friends’ group efforts, and 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. 

Ryan Vandeham, a senior business major, admires Springsteen for his impact on the music culture in New Jersey. “He is a rock and roll genius that thrives in the nighttime and offers an escape for people who believe they are born to run,” Vanderham. said.

Michael Warren, a junior Criminal Justice major, said “He is one of the most influential artists of this genre. I saw him in concert, and he is an outstanding live performer which exceeded my expectations,” Warren said.

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.