She is not a president (but still), but Oprah Winfrey has already taken DC as an art exhibition
The latest Smithsonian exhibition is a tribute to the host, actress and activist of the popular talk shows.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture celebrates the life and legacy of Oprah Winfrey. The famous presenter, who became the world’s first self-made African-American billionaire, is now the subject of a new 4300-square-meter exhibition that will open on Friday and be on display in the coming year. The show highlights Winfrey’s career performance and contributions to American culture, as well as her work as an African American rights activist.
Prior to the opening, an emotional Winfrey ran through the show, to the institution she was instrumental to bring to life – her donation of $ 21 million made her the single largest donor to the museum. She left in tears after reading accolades in the exhibition’s guestbook, such as a message stating that “looking at Oprah every day is the reason why I love myself so much.”
“What it does is allow me to actually confirm to myself what an amazing life this is,” Winfrey told the Smithsonian. ‘You know, I thought it was in my head, but if you see it lying in a scientific way, organized in terms of the influence and impact that my life and the life of the show have had, it is pretty profound.’
This is not the first time that Winfrey has been featured in the museum: opening exhibition of the institution, “A Changing America: 1968 and Beyond,” still on the long-term vision, includes a bank from the set of The Oprah Winfrey Show at Chicago’s Harpo Studios as well as various other items that they donated to the museum.
More than 240 other artefacts, including the talk show presenter’s desk, a gold microphone from the set and a costume from The Color Purple: The Musical, produced by Winfrey in 2005, can be seen in the new show.
Born in Kosciusko, Mississippi, in 1954, in the same year that the US Supreme Court banned segregation at schools in Brown v. Board of Education, Winfrey, a survivor of child sexual abuse, became famous for the unlikely circumstances. She was relegated from a news anchor job in 1977 in Baltimore, which led to a job in a day program in 1977. Winfrey found out what her true calling would be.
The first part of the exhibition, “America Shapes Oprah, 1950s-80s,” links her childhood photos to artifacts related to the civil rights movement, and prominent African-American women who influenced the first years of Winfrey – a dress that Diana Ross wore with the Supremes and a photo of Congressman Shirley Chisholm.
“Just as Oprah Winfrey watched TV record of the civil rights movement and was shaped by the era in which she was born and raised, she has had a profound effect on how Americans see themselves and each other in the tumultuous decades that followed,” said museum director Lonnie G Bunch III in a statement. “She has a place in the museum with a long line of women doing extraordinary things in their time – Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Maya Angelou women who worked to save the soul of America.”
The following are The Oprah Winfrey Show. During the 25-year course from 1986 to 2011, Winfrey filmed 4,561 episodes and interviewed an estimated 35,000 guests. The program has won 48 Daytime Emmys and is still the most appreciated talk show of all time.
Winfrey also ran a notorious 2005 interview with Tom Cruise, who jumped up and down on the couch and expressed his love for then-girlfriend Katie Holmes. The exhibition contains her note cards from Cruise’s return visit of 2008, which shows that she was planning to ask if he regretted the strange behavior of the star, such as his controversial remarks about Brooke Shields’ postpartum depression and his bizarre debate on psychiatry with Matt Lauer.
Officials of the museum planned the exhibition entitled “Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture,” to coincide with an expected drop in attendance at the nearly two-year-old museum. The demand, however, remains as strong as ever, with advanced timed access passes that are already fully booked by the end of September. (The hit museum offers walking maps for weekdays in September.)
“Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture” can be seen in the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, 1400 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC, 20560, June 8, 2018 through June 2019.