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The Woody Guthrie Center

The Issue

The driving forces behind the Woody Guthrie Center, a public museum and archive located in Tulsa, OK, wanted to set up an exciting, educational, interactive exhibit and bring America's greatest folk singer into the digital age. The exhibit needed to include Woody's doodles, poems, song lyrics and other memorabilia. A main concern was effectively using 21st century technology to portray a historic figure without losing the spirit of Guthrie himself.

The Request

GTOO Media, in collaboration with the George Kaiser Family Foundation, the Guthrie Family and the GRAMMY Museum, tasked Mind Over Data with incorporating more than 10,000 notes and 3,000 song lyrics from Guthrie’s archives (housed in the museum) into interactive kiosks. Requirements also included a large, 9-foot touch screen, able to handle the interaction of multiple visitors at one time, and the assurance that the essence of Guthrie would come across in all resulting work.

The Solution

Mind Over Data provided 12 kiosk stations, and eight separate interactive exhibits, each telling a different story pertaining to the life of Woody Guthrie. The Music Bar and the This Land is Your Land interactive exhibits allow users to listen to excerpts of over 50 Woody Guthrie songs and a variety of artists performing his songs. The Write a Song with Woody interactive provides patrons with the ability to compose an original verse to a song and submit it to the museum’s database. The Woody & His World, Following in Woody’s Footsteps and Lyric Journal interactive exhibits offer visitors the opportunity to learn about different time periods in Guthrie’s life and the artists who have credited him with inspiring or influencing their music and to explore the musician’s word choice and style. The Dust Bowl interactive allows visitors to listen to Guthrie’s Dust Bowl ballads and learn more about the period of time in the 1930s when the Great Plains region of the U.S. was devastated by poor agricultural practices, prolonged drought and severe dust storms. The highlight of the museum is Woody's America Interactive Map, a 9-foot interactive touch screen (based on a drawing by Guthrie) which allows up to 8 visitors at a time to learn more about the significant events that took place during the influential musician's lifetime. Woody's America Interactive Map was selected as the Gold Winner for Best Interactive Element at the 2013 Event Design Awards.

  • The Woody Guthrie Center The Woody Guthrie Center
    "Write a Song with Woody" Interactive
  • The Woody Guthrie CenterThe Woody Guthrie Museum
    "Write a Song with Woody" Guest Submissions
  • The Woody Guthrie Center The Woody Guthrie Center
    "Woody's America Interactive Map" (9-foot Touch Screen)

The Woody Guthrie interactive wall installed at Mind Over Data.  Listen as Marc Headley of Mode Systems describes the equipment, then watch Shane play some angry birds!