The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music at Monmouth University announced the collaboration with Freehold, New Jersey to create an exhibition space in the city. According to Variety, Springsteen attended the ceremony on Tuesday. He also gave a passionate speech expressing excitement and talking about growing up there.
“What can I say?” he began after pointing to a ring Tex Vinyard gave him, in addition to providing a place for Springsteen to rehearse in town. “Everything I learned of deep importance, I learned in this town. You learn most of what makes you who you are by the time you are 12, maybe; maybe your teen years. I had all the usual joy and heartbreak of growing up in a small town like this, and of course the minute the opportunity arose — I got the hell out.”.
The new exhibition space will be located at 49 W. Main Street within the current Freehold Fire Department building. As part of the new Freehold Center Core Redevelopment Plan, the town will relocate the fire department. Springsteen said he hesitated to suggest the move because he didn’t want to “step on anybody’s toes,” until the town mentioned moving the archives to the firehouse. “That’s the coolest building in town,” Springsteen laughed.
The Archives hold a collective total of nearly 35,000 items from 47 countries, including books, concert memorabilia, articles, and promotional material. Officials hope to open the space in mid-2024.
Bruce Springsteen Shares how Elvis Presley Inspired his Career
Though his own hometown in New Jersey helped inspire and cultivate his musical talent, Bruce Springsteen found other sources of motivation too. One of the biggest happened to be Elvis Presley and he spoke about it a few years ago.
Speaking on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2016, Springsteen recollected some of his earliest inspirations. At a young age, he saw Presley perform on The Ed Sullivan Show and was captivated. So much so he got a guitar as soon as possible, though being so young, he quickly became bored and didn’t pick it back up until later in life.
“I was 6-7 years old. It’s amazing because I was actually that young, but it had a tremendous impact,” Springsteen stated. “I’m curious as to where he stood here. At 7, I don’t know how much of a life I had to change, but whatever I had, it struck me right away. I got my mother run down to the store next week, and we rented a guitar.”
“I got bored rather quickly and put away until I was 14. When the Beatles stood on this stage, it happened to me again. So I got struck twice by the lightning.”