For over a decade, Baylor Libraries have proudly supported the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project (BGMRP), the world’s largest initiative to identify, acquire, scan, digitize, catalog and make accessible the rapidly vanishing American heritage. vinyl records of “Golden Age” gospel music.
Since its launch in 2006, the BGMRP has grown in size and reputation. The collection now numbers over 10,000 vinyl records and is on permanent display at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American Heritage and Culture. But even through it all, the collection has been confined to a small space in the Moody Memorial Library – until now.
Earlier this month, Baylor unveiled the all-new state-of-the-art Black Gospel Archives and Listening Center in the Moody Memorial Library, which now houses the entire BGRMP.
“We couldn’t be more excited to open this space to the people of Waco, our Baylor community and researchers around the world,” said Jeffry Archer, Dean of University Libraries. “Every step of the way, from the initial idea to the final touches, we have focused on respectful representations of African American culture, a commitment to the best of technology and decor, and a welcoming spirit. and inclusion for all who want it. to research and meet this amazing collection of American heritage.
Discover the new space and learn more about its meaning in a video tour featuring Archer and Dr. Horace Maxile, a Baylor expert on black composers:
The Black Gospel Archive and Listening Center (BGA) is located on the garden level of the Moody Library and was designed with researchers in mind. The BGA has storage space for thousands of physical items, including vinyl records, 45s, and cassettes, as well as research computer stations and a personalized work desk. The modern design and open floor plan are inviting and draw the visitor to the centerpiece of the space: a Framery-branded sound insulation module, which includes high-end audio equipment and a full keyboard for researchers. who wish to play with sheet music. or records from the collection.
“I think the keyboard and the listening space are particularly important, because they allow gospel music to remain an auditory tradition, something that can be experienced by ear,” explains Maxile.
Almost half of the space is devoted to archival storage of documents from the physical collection of the BGMRP. While outside loans still constitute the majority of material digitized for the project, Baylor Libraries hold a significant number of black gospel albums, cassette formats, and other ephemeral material.
Sic ’em, Baylor Libraries!