George Kaiser Family Foundation sets up new Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma

In 2016, the George Kaiser Family Foundation (GKFF) in Tulsa, Oklahoma, acquired truckloads of photos, papers and recordings which belonged to singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. The Bob Dylan Archive is estimated to be worth up to $60 million. 

At the time, many people wondered why one of the richest families in the US had bought such a large part of Dylan’s estate. It was not until 2021 that GKFF announced that large parts of Dylan’s legacy would be on display at the Bob Dylan Center, which opens on May 10. 

The fact that the new museum opens in Oklahoma’s second-largest city, Tulsa, is fine with Bob Dylan, who hails from Minnesota. In an interview last month with Vanity Fair, the octogenarian said “there are more vibrations on the coasts, for sure,” but added that being from Minnesota, he likes “the casual hum of the heartland.” 

The three-story Bob Dylan Center showcases more than 100,000 items Bob Dylan owned — or created — over the course of seven decades. 

They include handwritten lyrics to some of his greatest songs, previously unreleased recordings, photographs, films and artworks. 

The museum website says the exhibition is “dedicated to the study and appreciation of renowned American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan and his cultural significance.” 

A multimedia installation portrays Dylan’s life, from his childhood in Minnesota to becoming a world-famous folk musician. In a reconstructed studio, visitors can experience what it feels like to make a record. 

A movie theater at the Bob Dylan Center will present films that either feature Dylan as an actor or his music as part of the soundtrack, as well as documentaries. Classics include Martin Scorsese’s Dylan biography “No Direction Home” (2005), D. A. Pennebaker’s documentary “Don’t Look Back,” which follows Dylan’s 1965 UK tour, and Sam Peckinpah’s feature film “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” (1973), for which Dylan composed the score and songs and in which he played a role. 

Oil billionaire George Kaiser, one of America’s richest and most significant philanthropists, is the museum’s patron. His fortune is estimated at just under $8 billion, which according to Forbes makes him one of the 50 richest Americans. A large part of his fortune goes to the George Kaiser Family Foundation. 

In the course of his unique career, Dylan has sold more than 125 million records worldwide, written some of the most popular songs of the 20th century and received 11 Grammy Awards, the Nobel Prize for Literature and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. (Source: 

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