She’s the original social influencer.
Now Oprah Winfrey is officially going down in American history. The television icon is getting her own special exhibit at the famed National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC), which will let visitors see how her life and career influenced American culture for more 30 years.
The exhibit, entitled, “Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture,” opens this Friday and will run through June 2019.
If you were one of the millions of people who rushed to the TV to watch her #1-rated show daily, you know that when Oprah talked, people listened– and some even had their lives changed.
Museum visitors will get an up close and personal look at special artifacts from The Oprah Winfrey show, such as outfits, audience chairs, and her famed couch, as well as photos, interactives and video clips.
They’ll also get to learn the journey from Oprah’s small-town beginnings in Mississippi, as well as her evolution into a media mogul.
“One of the reasons I love this museum so much is you must know from whence you’ve come,” says Winfrey in a special interview taped for the #WatchingOprah exhibit.”
“If you don’t understand who you are and where you come from, and the price that has been paid for you, you have no idea of how to actually live your life.”
Oprah’s gift of $21 million dollars to the museum was the largest donation by an individual (followed closely by billionaire Robert F. Smith’s donation of $20 million), and there is a theater in her name housed within NMAAHC.
But NMAAHC’s director Lonnie G. Bunch III says the #WatchingOprah exhibition came together independently.
“We made sure there was a bright line, that this was done by the museum and museum scholars,” Bunch told The Washington Post. “The fundraising was not through Oprah’s people.”
Funny enough, Bunch planned the Oprah exhibit to run at the end of NMAAHC’s second year in business when visitor traffic was expected to slow down– only it hasn’t.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture has had more 3.5 million visitors since it opened in September 2016.
Now, there’s just one more reason to get up at 6am and try to score some same-day tickets. While she may be going down in history, Oprah is relevant today, running her own TV network (OWN), starring and producing in films, and serving as a global philanthropist.
““There are so many issues, about women, power, media, body image,” Bunch told The Washington Post.
“This should be a popular show because of the impact of this person, but it is also a show that allows us to think about what it means that a woman who doesn’t fit the TV look could build a media empire and become an entrepreneur.”