Preserving Sounds of Gospel's Golden Age
BGMRP expands with Black Gospel Archive and Listening Center
Since 2006, the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project (BGMRP) at Baylor University has evolved from a small space in Moody Memorial Library to a digital database encompassing thousands of archival recordings, earning a place in a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American Heritage and Culture.
BGMRP is the world’s largest initiative to identify, acquire, scan, digitize, catalog and make accessible America’s rapidly vanishing legacy of vinyl from gospel music’s golden age. The project has expanded with the opening of the Black Gospel Archive and Listening Center (BGA), which houses the project’s permanent collection.
The BGA, located in Moody Memorial Library, features storage space for thousands
of physical items such as LP and 45-rpm records, compact discs and cassettes, as well as a research work area. The space’s centerpiece is a Framery sound isolation pod, which features high-end audio equipment and a full keyboard for researchers who want to play along with sheet music or recordings from the collection. The space is reservable for researchers, students and the general public online at baylor.edu/library.
“We could not be more excited to open this space to the people of Waco, our Baylor community and researchers from around the world,” University Libraries Dean Jeffry Archer said. “With every step along the way, from initial idea to the finishing touches, we have focused on respectful representations of African American culture, a commitment to the finest in technology and décor, and a spirit of welcome and inclusion for any and all who want to research and encounter this amazing collection of American heritage.”
The Black Gospel Archive and Listening Center was formally unveiled during a grand opening and dedication ceremony last fall.