BC archives packed to brim with history

Kennedy Thomas, Reporter

One hundred years of history are displayed in the Bakersfield College archives, and it’s starting to show.  

The archives are actively searching for a new home in light of their ever-decreasing shelf space.

The archives office, located in Room 216 on the upper level of the Grace Van Dyke Bird Library, began operation in 2003 and is completely funded through private donations and fundraising operations conducted by archive employees.

They utilize these funds to catalog various BC memorabilia, including vintage school clothing, student publications, and oral interviews with former BC presidents.

All of the items in the archives are voluntarily donated, many by current and former BC staff and alumni.The archive staff is led by Jerry Ludeke, and includes Archive Assistants Rosalee Pogue, Helen Harp, and Greg Goodwin.

Pogue said that the amount of memorabilia has increased to the point that they are actively seeking a larger space in which to move the operation, but so far have not found an available room.

“We would like to display a lot more,” she said.  “Since we are a part of the library, this is a good place for us to be, but they don’t have room. Everybody is searching for room. We’ve thought of a couple places, but I think they’ve already been spoken for.  They’re trying to find us just something a little larger.”

Pogue said that they hoped to get approximately four times the amount of their current space.

In addition to the office in the library, there is a lower-level storeroom, which archive workers refer to as “the morgue,” that houses some larger pieces of BC’s history, including trophies, plaques, and pictures.  Pogue said that the most interesting pieces of memorabilia in the archives are the presidential boxes.

The boxes contain various documents from the terms of BC presidents, as well as oral histories, in which former school presidents discuss their personal lives and what brought them to BC.

“A lot of the oral histories, probably most of them now, are oral histories that we have from people who are no longer with us,” Pogue said.  “But we have a part of their history, we have a part of them here in our files, which is really nice.”

Although perhaps not the most interesting item, Pogue said that the “cutest” item in their possession was a freshman “dink,” a type of hat that was worn by incoming freshmen to BC between 1951-53.

The archives are open on Monday and Friday by appointment, and Tuesday through Thursday between 8:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.