Bob Dylan Hates Duluth + Hibbing, A New Museum Opening In Tulsa Is Proof [OPINION]
Northland native Bob Dylan has been in the news cycle again lately. An art display - including a full-size railroad freight car - created by the singer/songwriter was recently unveiled in France a day or so ago. And American actress Mayim Bialik professed her love for the artist on late night television back in April - telling viewers about a pilgrimage she and her father made to Hibbing to visit his childhood home; only she went to the wrong house.
And now there's this: May 10 marked the opening of the much-anticipated Bob Dylan Center. The "29,000 square foot, state-of-the-art center....features rotating exhibits, a 5,000-plus square foot archive, a 55-seat screening room and more". The museum is designed to house the artifacts, mementos, and relics of Dylan's career that has spanned more than 60 years. Dylan fans will have access to those first-class relics in an up-close and personal manner.
The museum is the sort of thing you might expect to see on one of the coasts - as in a large metropolitan area like New York; in fact, New York might have made sense because that's where Dylan escaped to from his childhood upbringing in Minnesota (born in Duluth, raised in Hibbing). It was in New York that the folk artist followed his dreams, broke new ground, and cultivated the seeds that produced the career we're familiar with.
But it's not in New York. And, the museum isn't on the coast. It's in the Midwest. In news reports centered about the grand opening, curators of the Bob Dylan Center suggest that it's location shows how much Bob loves the Midwest because he had a hand in choosing where it would be located.
The Bob Dylan Center is located in Tulsa, as in Oklahoma. Yup, Tulsa - just short of a thousand miles away from Duluth and Hibbing, the Iron Range, Minnesota, the geographic region where it all began for the artist.
In the years since Dylan left Minnesota, Northlanders have clung to and revered the artist in ways that have only been recently overshadowed by Prince. Homes. Festivals. Restaurants. Streets. Northlanders have gushed about their love of the artist in various ways.
But, in large part, it's all been a one-way street.
You can't fault Dylan much for what he's done with his personal life. There was a reason he left - the same sort of reason that anyone who leaves an area that they were born and raised in has.
In the ensuing years since he broke onto the national music scene, Dylan has been back to the area to visit; it's not like he avoids the Northland like the plague. Rumors and stories have circulated for years about how he quietly slips into town, visits those he wants to, sees what he wants to, and then leaves. He also owned a farm south of the Twin Cities for many years. And, he's made a random concert stop or two in the state.
But on a professional level, Dylan has never really reciprocated the love that Duluth, Hibbing, the Iron Range, and Minnesota pour out to him. The few times he's talked about the area, what he's said hasn't been necessarily what you could call "warm".
So, here was have Tulsa. Because he loves the Midwest. I wish the curators of the museum well and much success. Maybe they should rename Reconciliation Way - the street that the Bob Dylan Center is located on - to Bob Dylan Way.