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Oprah Winfrey is brought to tears as she gets a first look at the Smithsonian museum exhibit honoring her legacy

June 7, 2018 8:33 PM
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For 25 years, Oprah Winfrey brought women to tears with heartbreaking stories, breathtaking makeovers, and generous gifts that would go down in history.

But this week it was Oprah's turn to cry as she got a first glimpse at a new Smithsonian exhibit to honor her incredible legacy.

Oprah couldn't help but shed a few tears as she walked through 'Watching Oprah' at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The television legend was accompanied by best friend Gayle King and the museum's director, Lonnie Bunch, as they checked out the new 4,300 sq ft exhibit.

'How many people are alive who get exhibits?' Winfrey asked King as she surveyed her life, told in images and artifacts taken straight from her personal collection.

The exhibit, which opens to the public on Friday, is broken up into three sections: 'America Shapes Oprah', 'The Oprah Winfrey Show', and 'Oprah Shapes America'.

It begins with the landmark Supreme Court case Brown v Board of Education, which was decided in 1954 - the year Oprah was born.

'I often say this, I was born at the right time,' Winfrey said during the CBS segment.

Bunch explained that he wanted to 'really frame' the Civil Rights Era and show how it shaped the future television host.

Oprah talked of how seeing the Supremes perform on television was a pivotal moment in her childhood.

'The first time I saw the Supremes on The Ed Sullivan Show as a 10-year-old girl, it was the first time I realized you could be a beautiful black woman on television,' she said.

Also included in the exhibit is some of Oprah's work as a news anchor for local media - afro and all.

The exhibit also features a page from Winfrey's own journal, which she wrote the night before The Oprah Winfrey show premiered on national television.

'Exactly eight hours before the national show. I keep wondering how my life will change. If it will change. What all this means,' the note reads.

The exhibit also features original artifacts from Harpo Studios in Chicago, which was home of the Oprah Winfrey Show for more than two decades.

And a special tribute is paid to one of Oprah's most iconic episodes, in which she gave everyone in the audience a brand new car.

Oprah recalled trying to find the right thing to wear for the episode, and wanting her dress to match the bows on the car.

A mural that lists every episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show - all 4,561 of them - hangs in the exhibit as well.

'I really believed you've opened this world of possibility, where people are wrestling with issues they never wrestled with,' Bunch told Oprah.

The was evident in the visitors book at the exhibit, which features messages from people who credit Oprah with changing their lives.

'Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King inspired my decision to become a journalist,' one note reads.

'Oprah brought my family together. We would all crowd around the TV to watch a woman do what we could only dream of doing,' another guest wrote.

Oprah began to tear up as she read one last message, which read: 'Oprah Winfrey is the reason I love myself so fiercely, and know that my voice matters'.

'I can't think of anything that was as transformative during those 25 years as your show,' Bunch told Oprah after they finished their tour.

'I thank you for saying that cause I do believe that we had a big impact in the culture,' Oprah told him.


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