The Archives and Special Collections Department of the University Library at California State University, Dominguez Hills has mounted a multi-dimensional exhibition, “JOLT!— Responding to Environmental Disasters Large and Small in Southern Los Angeles," that will remain on display through May 2014. The exhibit is open free of charge to the public.Popular Stories
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In response to continued student interest in the devastation caused by the March 10, 1933, earthquake in Compton and Long Beach, as well as the hazards to the environment presented by oil refineries or derrick explosions throughout the early to mid-20th century, this exhibition presents extensive documentation from the Archives collections.
It documents disasters large and small, from earthquakes and floods to kitchen fires and vehicle accidents. Most of these disasters took place within 15 minutes of the CSUDH campus.
The exhibition features 200 images and other archival materials from the department's extensive collections, including the Long Beach Firemen’s Historical Museum Photograph Collection, the Compton History Collection, the Lynch Family Collection, the Rancho San Pedro Collection, and other materials.
The donation of 9,000 Long Beach fire-related materials in 2010 brought a great deal of documentation to the CSUDH Archives and Special Collections Department, not only on mid-century firefighting, but also on enormous oil derrick and gas refinery explosion in Long Beach and Signal Hill.
Also featured in the collection are images of flooding that devastated Rancho San Pedro lands in the century prior to the paving of the Los Angeles River.
The Long Beach Fire photographs have been digitized and are currently being cataloged and should be available in the Archives’ Digital Collection site by the end of 2013.
The exhibition features sets of photographs on topics that mirror what the Long Beach Fire Museum Collection comprises, but also features many collections that have been in the Archives for many years.
The section of the exhibit relating to automobiles features several wrecks involving Long Beach Fire Department vehicles.
The aviation section deals with a good number of airplane crashes in Long Beach in the 1940s and 1950s.
Other sections deal with the infamous Hancock Oil Refinery mega-explosion in 1958 in Signal Hill, as well as early Long Beach oil derrick files during the 1920s and 1930s.
Other sections include images on Long Beach commercial fires, Long Beach Fire Department fire prevention efforts and striking images from the 1940s and 1950s relating to fire inspection.
Inspections often reveal extensive fire hazards, or at least a good deal of hoarding.
Not only do the images in the exhibition document the courageous work of Long Beach firefighters but also allows insight into how commercial and domestic scenes can be viewed from the standpoint of the 21st century.
The Archives and Special Collections Department is on the fifth floor of the University Library South Wing. Archives hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
The exhibit is free and open to the public.
Group tours as well as classroom visits to hear about the Archives and how students can use primary resources at CSU Dominguez Hills are welcome but are asked to be schedule in advance.
For more information, contact the Archives and Special Collections Department at (310) 243-3895.