Friday, August 30, 2013


A new multi-dimensional exhibition “JOLT! -- RESPONDING TO ENVIROMENTAL DISASTERS—LARGE AND SMALL IN SOUTHERN LOS ANGELES opens September 3, 2013 in the Archives and Special Collections Department on the Fifth Floor of the University at California State University Dominguez Hills.
In response to continued student interest in the devastation caused on March 10, 1933 by an 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 on the disasters large and small…from earthquakes and floods to kitchen fires and car 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 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 Long Beach Fire photographs have been digitized and are currently being cataloged and should be available in the Archives’ Digital Collection by the end of 2013 at

The donation of 9000 Long Beach fire-related  materials in 2010 brought a great deal of documentation not only on mid-century firefighting, but also on enormous oil derrick and gas refinery explosion in Long Beach and Signal Hill. Also featured are images of flooding that devastated Rancho San Pedro lands in the century prior to the paving of the LA River.  

 The exhibition features sets of photographs on topics that mirror what the Long Beach Fire Museum Collection consists of but also features many collections that have been in the Archives for many years. The section 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.
Tours as well as classes are welcome to hear about the Archives and how students can use primary resources at CSU Dominguez Hills. A finding aid or catalog of the Long Beach Fire Museum Collection can be found at: Archives hours are Monday-Friday, 10-4.

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