Finally, Woody Guthrie Comes Home: Tulsa Center Opens

Tulsa Center. Copyright: Tulsa Center

Tulsa Center. Photo copyright: Tulsa Center

Guthrie was, above all, a philosopher who gave a voice to the masses. His fearless take on the woes of working people taught his peers — and later generations — that, indeed, artists could change the landscape for the rest of us. His many songs, essays and poems often were considered subversive, but he wrote and sang as a true patriot.” ~ Tulsa World

It took Oklahoma a few decades (try four) to catch on to that Dust Bowl “upstart,” Okemah’s Woody Guthrie, and his folk legacy. But when it happened, Guthrie’s name, image and lyrics were branded onto t-shirts, festivals, media and parks.

Tulsa continues to give the traveling troubadour, poet and activist his due with the opening of the Woody Guthrie Center, 102 E. Brady St. At 1 p.m. Saturday, April 27.

The center of the center is the life of Woody Guthrie, the Oklahoma-born, left-wing songwriter who is best remembered for his song “This Land Is Your Land.” The original lyrics sheet for the song is centrally displayed in the center’s permanent gallery along with exhibits of Guthrie’s writings, drawings and instruments.

The 12,000-square-foot center will be the permanent home of these and other items and memorabilia for exhibition, education and research as well as a permanent exhibit on the Dust Bowl.

Wayne Greene (Tulsa World) wrote “for ordinary visitors, there are tunes and flashy interactive gewgaws. For scholars, there are 10,000 pieces of source material, including song lyrics, rare books, letters, manuscripts, journals, photographs and personal papers.”

Opening weekend events were free and open to the public. After the weekend, regular admission is $6-$8 with children under 5 admitted free.

Get a sneak peek with a photo slideshow

Visit the website that The Tulsa World dedicated in honor of Woody Guthrie’s 100th birthday in 2012.

Woody Guthrie performing in a NYC subway circa 1943

Woody Guthrie performing in a NYC subway circa 1943

Sources: Tulsa World, Woody Guthrie Archives, Wikipedia, Google