The Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma will open on May 10, 2022, representatives announced Wednesday, as they brought into clearer focus just what fans and students can expect when the facility opens in one year. Although a release avoids using the word “museum,” it’s clear the BDC is designed to stand as the ultimate repository of Dylan artifacts, with the promise of more than 100,000 “exclusive culture treasures” on view. Included in the collection will be previously unseen or unheard recordings, filmed performances, photographs, lyric manuscripts and visual art.
To draw attention to the center’s offerings and plans, a previously unheard version of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” — described as “one sterling example of the treasures to be found” in the archive — was released Wednesday morning as a free download, courtesy of the BDC. Described as “heretofore unknown,” the 1962 recording includes alternate lyrics and was recorded in the New York apartment of friends Milton (Mell) and Lillian Bailey well before its eventual appearance on 1963’s “The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan.”
The architectural design firm Olson Kundig, whose Alan Maskin is leading the project, has revealed exterior and interior renderings of the center, which will be located in Tulsa’s arts district, near an already popular draw, the Woody Guthrie Center. A live events firm, 59 Productions, whose credits include the “David Bowie Is” exhibit, is working alongside Oldon Kundig on the exhibition design.
Among the elements highlighted in Wednesday’s announcement are an introductory “immersive film experience,” directed by Jennifer Lebeau; a screening room offering documentaries and concert performances, some previously unreleased; a facsimile recording studio, “where visitors will experience what it was like to be present at one of Dylan’s historic recording sessions”; a multimedia timeline covering Dylan’s entire life; a changing, curated display of artifacts housed within the archive; and a section of the museum dubbed the Columbia Records Gallery which will be devoted to deep dives into some of his most revered songs.
Besides the newly unvaulted version of “Don’t Think Twice,” the Dylan Center is also making available free to the public a newly discovered photograph of Dylan on stage when he toured with the Band, shot in 1974 by Barry Feinstein; it can be downloaded here.
As the first thing visitors see, the center’s three-story facade will feature an image of Dylan in his 1965 prime as a folksinger-turned-rocker, donated by photographer Jerry Schatzberg.
The Bob Dylan Archive, a collection that is the basis for the BDC’s exhibits and offerings, was first announced in 2016.
Founding memberships to the BDC are currently being offered at bobdylancenter.com. These also include lifetime memberships in the Guthrie Center; both museums are part of the George Kaiser Family Foundation’s American Song Archives project. Regular admission information is promised for later in 2021.