Bob Dylan Fans, Rejoice! A New Museum Dedicated to the Bard Promises to Shed New Light on His Life and Music

The Bob Dylan Center will be a stone's throw from the Woody Guthrie Center.

A rendering of the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Courtesy of Ryan Botts and Olson Kundig.
A rendering of the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Courtesy of Ryan Botts and Olson Kundig.

A new museum dedicated to the life of Bob Dylan is coming to Tulsa, Oklahoma.

For Dylanologists, the opening date of the Bob Dylan Center on May 10, 2022 may as well be Christmas: it could mark the first time the enigmatic musician’s most private possessions are made available to the public. 

A destination for tourists and scholars alike, the museum will house more than 100,000 photographs, rare recordings, handwritten lyric sheets, letters, and other pieces of ephemera—many of them never-before-seen—from the storied singer-songwriter’s life.

This includes the Bob Dylan Archive, a famously mysterious collection of personal objects some believe are a key to unlocking the singer’s oeuvre. 

An announcement from the center also promises a curated display of objects from the archive, an immersive film experience, and a recreated studio environment so fans can feel what it was like to be at one of Dylan’s recording sessions.

Designed by the Olson Kundig architecture firm, the three-story brick venue will be in the downtown Tulsa arts district, just feet from the Woody Guthrie Center—which is fitting, since Guthrie proved to be a major influence on Dylan early on in the latter artist’s career. A 1965 photograph of Dylan will span the facade.

Like the Guthrie Center, the new Dylan museum is owned and operated by the American Song Archives, an LLC backed by the foundation of Billionaire Oklahoma businessman George Kaiser.

In 2016, Kaiser’s foundation partnered with the University of Tulsa to jointly acquire the Dylan Archive for an estimated $15 million to $20 million, making headlines around the world. 

“It is clear that the archives are deeper and more vast than even most Dylan experts could imagine, promising untold insight into the songwriter’s work,” the New York Times wrote in 2016.

The other materials in the center’s collection, meanwhile, were donated after the acquisition. The musician, who has always marched to the beat of his own drum, will have no formal association with the new museum. 

News of the Center’s opening comes just days after Florida International University announced plans to bring a retrospective of Dylan’s visual art to its campus museum this fall. It’s a good time to be a Dylan fan, it seems. 

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