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MU Announces BSACAM Expansion

On Wednesday, Oct. 18, the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music (BSACAM) announced that they will expand their facilities by constructing a 30,000-square-foot building on the Monmouth University campus. It will be the permanent home for the BSACAM, a high-profile museum, and a dedicated space for future decades of music scholars to visit and engage with the history of American music and Bruce Springsteen.

Patrick Leahy, Ed.D., President of Monmouth University and Chair of the Archives Board, said, “We believe a national asset like this should be on a university campus, with easy access for students and scholars.” President Leahy also made a point of recognizing the unique qualities here at Monmouth that have earned it as the rightful place for this expansion, including the renowned music industry program, student-run record label, and the University’s historical significance relating to the history of Springsteen’s career. As a young up-and-comer, Springsteen performed at (then) Monmouth College several times.

After Leahy made the main announcement of this upcoming construction, he invited Jeana Pisatelli, a former Board of Trustees Chair and a current Board member and Senator Vin Gopal to say a few words before introducing the Executive Director of the BSACAM, Bob Santelli. Senator Gopal noted that sights in Monmouth County have already become a hub for tourism thanks to Springsteen being raised here, and hopes that this building will grow from that tourism. He also highlighted how local laborers will be contracted to construct the building.

Santelli is an alumnus from Monmouth and got his start in writing as an Entertainment Staff Writer for The Outlook before branching out into writing for the Asbury Park Press and Rolling Stone. From there, he then became one of the original curators of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Executive Director of the GRAMMY Museum. Santelli said, “The idea is something that doesn’t happen anywhere else in America, we’ll be the first place to tell a major story from an educational, academic point of view… and it will allow teachers, scholars, journalists, students and certainly fans from all over the world to come and dig deep not just in the legacy of Springsteen but the great story of American music that continues to unfold today and will continue to unfold.”

The real presence of this event was that of Springsteen himself who made an appearance in support of BSACAM’s announcement. Springsteen said, “I want to say how happy I am that my archives will have a home right here in New Jersey.”

Springsteen jokingly added, “Having a building with your name on it is a tricky thing because I’m still alive, and I’m subject to any kind of behavior. I could be arrested for shooting tequilas in a public park. So I will try to do my best to do nothing for the rest of my life to embarrass a building.” He closed, “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, is deeply satisfying, I look forward to working with everyone to make this building and this endeavor a great success.”

Since its creation, BSACAM has cared for its vast and growing collection of over 35,000 artifacts all regarding Springsteen. In 2017, the Archives found its permanent home here at Monmouth University and has promoted the preservation of the legacy of American music. The current space that houses the 35,000+ artifacts sits next to the Lauren K. Woods Theater in a former domicile building on Cedar Avenue. This space not only houses the vast archive but also includes a space for researchers to make appointments to come visit and view artifacts.

BSACAM also gives students the opportunity to work at the Archives as student archivists, where they are able to help curate exhibits, plan events, and get first-hand experience with working for such a unique organization that is dedicated to preserving the legacy of a local hero here in New Jersey. The BSACAM has also put on event series including “What’s up on E Street” and “Soundstage,” which highlighted musicians, historians, and documentarians speaking their piece about their experiences. Additionally, BSACAM has hosted events that commemorate the grand history of American music including “Hip Hop in the Round” which celebrated the 50th anniversary of Hip Hop and “The 50th Anniversary: Greetings from Asbury Park.”

Director of the Archives Eileen Chapman summarized, “This is a great day for Monmouth, Monmouth County, New Jersey, and music lovers all over the world.”