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A center dedicated to Bob Dylan prepares to open in Oklahoma

A collection of photography from the Bob Dylan Archive in Tulsa, Okla.
The Washington Post
The Washington Post via Getty Images
A collection of photography from the Bob Dylan Archive in Tulsa, Okla.

Bob Dylan was born in Minnesota and came up through the New York folk scene – but tomorrow in Tulsa, Okla., a new museum dedicated to the legendary artist, the Bob Dylan Center, will open its doors. And why Tulsa? The answer goes back to Dylan's own musical roots.

"Under the umbrella organization that runs the Dylan Center," says Steven Jenkins, director of the Bob Dylan Center, "called the American Song Archives, we have The Woody Guthrie Center. And of course, Dylan always saw Guthrie as a formative influence and felt that, you know, if my materials are going to be anywhere, why not on the same block as Guthrie's?"

The museum has 100,000 items, "give or take," Jenkins explains, among them handwritten notebooks with early drafts of Dylan's most impactful lyrics, providing a valuable new perspective on Dylan's creative process. Some of the archives were first sold by Dylan in 2016.

But if you're planning to make the trip, it's best not to expect a sighting of the man himself. "He's more interested in tomorrow night's show," director Jenkins reminds us. "It's not so much his nature to look back."

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Phil Harrell is a producer with Morning Edition, NPR's award-winning newsmagazine. He has been at NPR since 1999.