At Last..The Essence Of Bob Dylan..To Be Found..In..Tulsa OK

See the first images of the to-be-constructed Bob Dylan Centre


An ideal place, sharing the city where his spiritual folk musician mentor Woody Guthrie is honored.

The Bob Dylan Centre will be built in Tulsa Oklahoma, construction to commence in 2019 with estimated completion in 2021.  To be permanently located on Martin Luther King Boulevard in Oklahoma’s vibrant and colourful Tulsa Arts District, close to the Woody Guthrie Centre, the new facility will curate and exhibit a collection of more than 100,000 items spanning the iconic Dylan’s career, including handwritten manuscripts, notebooks and correspondence, films, videos, photographs and artwork, personal documents and effects, unreleased studio and concert recordings, musical instruments and many other elements. The project will also include audio and multimedia experiences.  The project will hold permanent, temporary and traveling exhibitions and visitors will be able to take a tour of his long and illustrious creative career.

Seattle-based architect Olson Kundig is to design the museum.  Tulsa-based Lilly Architects will act as the architect of record on the project, with multimedia firm Plains of Yonder in charge of the centre’s audio and video.  The building is funded by the University of Tulsa and the George Kaiser Family Foundation, and will act as an extension of the Bob Dylan Archive and interact with the Institute for Bob Dylan Studies at the University of Tulsa, an academic program focused on Dylan and related cultural subjects.. 

The Bob Dylan Archive, comprises more than 6,000 items spanning nearly the entire length of his career, was acquired by the George Kaiser Family Foundation and the University of Tulsa and is housed at TU’s Helmerich Centre for American Research at Gilcrease Museum (accessible only to qualified researchers and scholars).  Many of these are associated with Dylan’s mid-1960s efforts while others trace the artist’s work, changing attitudes and personal activity.  Another major section of the archive contains notebooks and correspondence.  Recording session reports, contracts, sheet music of Dylan’s songs and scores of photographs also populate the collection.

Master tapes of the artist’s entire musical catalog as well as hundreds of hours of film and video material are in the collection, as well as the film originals of Murray Lerner’s Festival! (1965), D.  A. Pennebaker’s Don’t Look Back (1967), Dylan’s (with Howard Alk and Pennebaker) Eat the Document (1971), Dylan and Alk’s Renaldo & Clara (1978), Martin Scorsese’s Bob Dylan: No Direction Home (2006) and a host of music shorts and videos.

In the lead-up to the opening, a number of Bob Dylan-related events are due to be held in Tulsa under the banner of the centre.  The space will be dedicated to the study and appreciation of Dylan and his cultural significance through six decades of creative endeavours, from songwriting and recording, to live performances, books and films.

It will be located just southeast of the Woody Guthrie Centre, which was established in 2013 after the George Kaiser Family Foundation acquired the archives of the influential folk songwriter.  In 2016, Dylan cited the Guthrie center as one of the reasons he chose Tulsa for his own archives. “I’m glad that my archives, which have been collected all these years, have finally found a home and are to be included with the works of Woody Guthrie and especially alongside all the valuable artifacts from the Native American Nations. To me, it makes a lot of sense and it’s a great honor,” Dylan said.

Tom Kundig, Olson Kundig’s owner, said: “This is a deeply meaningful project for us – not only acting as architectural support to Bob’s transformational legacy and creative, disciplined force, but also in preserving the teaching value of his legacy for future generations.”





Above Images courtesy of Olson Kundig


Listening Through The Lens has visited the Woody Guthrie Centre.  See our report


the side of the Woody Guthrie Centre Tulsa OK



See the first images of the to-be-constructed Bob Dylan Centre

See the first images of the to-be-constructed Bob Dylan Centre





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Author: Rob Dickens

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  1. Whoever is building this place need to take a look at the Beatles museum in Liverpool. At first glance this place looks too clean and airless. It needs to have more atmosphere. In the Bealtes museum, the first few sections are styled to look like old record shops from the early sixites, parts of Liverpool and Hamburg (dirty backstreets, storefronts etc) and this really works. We could have the same maybe with a bit of Dinkytown and a little club like Cafe Wha or something…have some imagination here!

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    • The Woody Guthrie Museum in the same block is very effective – a dust bowl section and a nice vibe of the time in which he lived

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