Visiting Tulsa’s Woodie Guthrie Center


Right after Christmas me, son Logan and brother Bob visited the Woody Guthrie Center in downtown Tulsa. The center is the archive for almost everything Woody Guthrie and they have a small museum showing off some of his papers, musical instruments, artwork, and of course his music. 


They have on display lots of his papers with lyrics and notes, letters and such.


He put his stamp on his musical instruments including woodburning and ink. You may notice that on this violin he says it helped kill ten fascists. He was in the merchant marine during World War II and served on three ships that were sunk. (If I remember right.)


He wrote on all sorts of materials. You can tell he hated fascism. One interesting segment is that he lived in an apartment owned by Donald Trump’s father, Fred Trump in New York. Woody didn’t really care for what he considered racist housing policy. 


The museum also has a Virtual Reality experience of the dust bowl that is very eerie. Here are brother Bob and son Logan with the VR goggles.


The center also has a small space for special exhibits. This time they had a lot of memorabilia from John Cougar Mellencamp including recordings of his songs and quite a bit of material of Mellencamp talking about his music. I found it quite interesting.


As part of the Mellencamp exhibit was this reel to reel recorder/player. I tried to explain to my son how cool these things were and how expensive they were and then to why a ipod touch like mine totally outclasses these things. Reel to reel tape machines are still  very cool in my book!!

Check the centers web site for information on hours, location, and exhibits coming up. They have an exhibit on Leonard Bernstein coming up in January. I’ll  be checking it out. I got to see Bernstein at the premiere of one of his operas in Houston back in the 80’s. Everybody in the crowd was yelling “Bernie” like they knew him or something.

I am linking with Our World Tuesday

14 thoughts on “Visiting Tulsa’s Woodie Guthrie Center

  1. Barb

    I actually still play some of Woody’s songs. You would have to explain that reel to reel recorder to me! (We do still have our old Fisher stereo…)

  2. Penelope Puddlisms

    There’s something really special about seeing an artist’s handwritten notes in this technical age. Funny how we feel we know the folks that are famous. I guess it’s because they do come into our living rooms from time to time. Wishing you and yours the very best this New Year!

  3. Driller's Place

    I have to put the Guthrie Center on my list of things to do in Tulsa. Yes, reel to reel decks were the coolest. I bought one when I came home from Vietnam as a part of my “component” stereo system. And yes, it weighed 65lbs but it was the center piece of my system.

  4. Jeanna

    That’s cool, anything about Arlo? I just lugged a box of reel to reel tapes up from basement storage and dread to see the kind of shape they’re in. Maybe I’ll lug up the reel to reel too. We still used reel to reel at a tech school I went there in the 90s. Splicing seemed much easier when I was younger, must be the patience factor. I wonder what effect that had on his fiddle?
    Happy New Year may it be full of music and adventure.

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