Oprah Winfrey is walking American history, and in her honor, the National Museum of African American History and Culture will erect an exhibition dedicated completely to how her unprecedented work and influence has helped shape this country.
According to The Washington Post, on Friday, June 9, the exhibition, titled “Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture”, will be available for public viewing and it will run through June 2019. It will highlight her personal narrative and career arc from poor country girl to global media powerhouse through video clips, interview segments, movie costumes, and personal photographs and journals.
Curated by Curators Rhea L. Combs and Kathleen Kendrick, the first portion of the show will explore Winfrey’s childhood, early career and how she stood at the forefront of hot-button issues. The middle section moves through the 25-year-run of her iconic talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show. Then, it highlights her current role as cultural influencer and tastemaker through her work in film, publishing, and philanthropy.
This isn’t Winfrey’s first relationship with the museum, which was first opened in September 2016. The multimedia magnate donated $21 million to its creation and, in return, its theater is named after her.
Museum director Lonnie G. Bunch III confirmed that this show will coincide with the time of year officials predict attendance will drop. But due to the litany of women’s issues surrounding “power, media, body image,” this exhibit should surely draw attention. He also spoke to Oprah’s ability to attract America’s trust much like Walter Cronkite. “An African American woman becomes the person America turns to,” he says.
Later, he adds, “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.”