“Working on the highway, laying down the blacktop.Working on the highway, all day long I don’t stop!”
Now at the ripe age of 74, Bruce Springsteen ain’t slowing down just yet. The blue jeans-rocking voice of the people from North Jersey is working with COOKFOX to realize an archival building in his name at Monmouth University, not far from where The Boss recorded his famous 1984 album, Born in the U.S.A., that put him and his tuchus on the map.
In West Long Branch, New Jersey, The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music (BSACAM) is a forthcoming 30,000-square-foot building, designed by COOKFOX, that will host Springsteen’s archives, a new Center for American Music, exhibition galleries, and a 230-seat, state-of-the-art theater. LaGuardia Design Group, based in Water Mill, New York, are the landscape architects.
The Bruce Springsteen Archives serves as the official repository for The Boss’s songs, written works, photographs, periodicals, oral histories, recordings, films, and artifacts related to the musician and the E Street Band. Upon completion, the new gallery spaces at Monmouth University will host displays on the singer and songwriter and stage various exhibitions related to American music; providing a permanent home for the Bruce Springsteen Archives’ ephemera.
At Monmouth University, COOKFOX designed a flexible bar building with open floors that will be able to host a slew of programming as the museum grows older. Visitors enter through a double-height entry hall where they have easy access to the performance center to the north and exhibition galleries to the south. The lower-level galleries are programmed for shows about American music more broadly while exhibitions specific to Springsteen and the E Street Band are on the second floor, where most of the archives are also located. Finned louvers at the upper level control how light enters the spaces. The interiors are an amalgam of exposed timber, tying the exterior with the interior.
BSACAM’s facade will have a rustic appearance defined by weathered steel panels. Leading up the building’s entrance a steel and wood walkway and wooden handrails will reference boardwalks along the Jersey Shore. “The weathered steel rain screen panels rotate to reveal glazing underneath, illuminating displayed archival objects safely with clerestory lighting. The performance space has been engineered to perform at a high standard for musical performance, academic performances, and video screenings,” COOKFOX said in a press release. “Designed to museum standards, the all-electric building will be the University’s first LEED Certified project. A mass timber structure reduces embodied carbon while reinforcing the warmth and familiarity many associate with Bruce Springsteen’s music.”
The music hall is set to host concerts, teacher workshops, symposia, lectures, film series, and more. Monmouth University is in the process of raising $45 million to finance the building’s construction in a capital campaign.
“Monmouth University is excited to have on our campus one of the country’s premiere cultural and educational institutions dedicated to preserving the legacy of Bruce Springsteen and the story of American music,” said Patrick Leahy, Monmouth University president and chairman of the archives board. “The new building will add to the cultural and educational landscapes of not just New Jersey but also the nation.”
“Our institution will offer exciting research opportunities for students, journalists, and historians and give Springsteen fans the chance to explore his music and the role it plays in American history like never before” added Robert Santelli, executive director of the Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music. “Teachers will also find the Archives and Center for American music a valuable educational resource. Lesson plans, teaching strategies, and online programs will be available to teachers and enable them to bring American music into the classroom.”
The Bruce Springsteen Archives and Center for American Music is set to open in spring 2026.