Woody Guthrie Center celebrates 5th anniversary by creating new VR exhibit


They called this part of the country the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. Sometimes there was so much dust here, you couldn't see the sun; those days were some of Oklahoma's darkest.

It was a struggle that thousands had to live with, but one that inspired a young Woody Guthrie.

"He was seeing these dust storms. He was living in the Texas panhandle during Black Sunday. He went to LA and saw the displaced workers and how they were suffering, and they were his people," said Deana McCloud, executive director of the Woody Guthrie Center.

Guthrie became something of a spokesperson for the common man and the survivors of the Dust Bowl. The Woody Guthrie Center is now showing their visitors what it was like to live through Black Sunday, the worst of the dust storms.

Put on the virtual reality goggles in their new exhibit, and the museum landscape is transformed into Black Sunday.

"You can see this dust storm approaching and building, and all the effects it had around you. The birds and the jackrabbits running away from it in advance. The fact that it created static electricity and spark little fires," said McCloud.

The new VR display, a permanent addition to the museum, is the first of several events this week to celebrate the museum's fifth birthday.

"Honestly, we're just thrilled to be here and having our fifth anniversary is very special to us. Those 5, 10, 15 anniversaries are always very special, but this one even more so because we are installing new technology and making sure that we are reaching people in a new way," she said.

The new exhibit is open to visitors starting Tuesday.

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