Black Gospel Archive and Listening Center
The next step in the ongoing evolution of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project (BGMRP) is taking shape on the Garden Level of Moody Memorial Library, just outside the Riley Digitization Center. Projected to open in the spring of 2021, the new Black Gospel Archive and Listening Center (BGALC) will be the physical home of the BGMRP, with archival storage space for thousands of items, a sound booth for private listening and research, and meeting space for scholars to engage with the scholarly resources found in the project.
The project was initiated with a lead gift of $50,000 from the Prichard Family Foundation, long-time spporters of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project. Total project costs will run to $175,00, plus an additional $40,000 in furnishings. The Libraries have received $20,000 in gifts toward furnishings to date.
If you would like to support the BGALC, please consider a donation to the Library Dean's Excellence Fund, with a note that your gift goes to support the Black Gospel Archive and Listening Center.
Construction Photos, December 2020 to Present
Safeguarding a Legacy
Approximately half of the square footage of the BGALC is dedicated to archival storage of materials in the BGMRP's physical collection. While outside loans still make up a majority of materials digitized for the project, the University Libraries hold a significant number of Black gospel albums, tape formats, and ephemera as well. The BGALC will provide secure, climate-controlled storage for approximately 10,000 LPs, with room for expansion in the future.
Engaging With the Soul of Gospel Music
The BGALC is designed with researching scholars in mind, including an insulated sound booth to allow for full immersion in the recordings made available by the project. An electronic keyboard, access to printed gospel discographies, and aesthetic elements drawn from the project's amazing visuals will blend together to provide a multisensory opportunity to discover the passion, artistry, and spirit behind American Black gospel music.
The third major purpose of the BGALC is to provide a space to listen, not just to the materials from the BGMRP, but to each other, to new ideas, and to oral histories of those whose skill and soul created the music we work every day to preserve. The flexible furniture and welcoming environment are well-suited to hosting focused conversations between gospel scholars, preservationists, students, the Waco community, and anyone with an interest in discovering more about the unparalleled joy to be found in the BGMRP's holdings.