Oprah Winfrey has snagged plenty of awards and honors in her time, but now, she is getting honored in a truly special way that will focus on her unique, important place within our culture. As an activist, boundary-breaking television personality, badass woman who works to help other women and as a pop culture icon, it’s about time Winfrey got her due in a new kind of way — and you’re going to agree when you read what this honor is.
On Monday, The Washington Post reported that the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture has created an exhibit, titled “Watching Oprah: The Oprah Winfrey Show and American Culture,” entirely focused on Winfrey’s work and contribution to our culture. Set to run from June 2018 to June 2019, the exhibit will bring together “video clips, interview segments, movie costumes and personal photographs and journals to explore what has influenced Winfrey and how her work has shaped America.”
Museum curator Kathleen Kendrick expressed to the news outlet what she hopes the exhibit will achieve and why Winfrey’s life and work are very, very worthy of dedicating an entire exhibit to. “We’re providing a context for understanding not only who she is, but how she became a global figure, and how she is connected to broader stories and themes,” Kendrick explained.
“Civil rights, the women’s movement, the media and television landscape, she’s at this distinct intersection of all of these dynamic moments. She becomes someone at the forefront of dealing with ideas, of discussing hot-button topics like racism and sexual orientation,” another museum curator, Rhea L. Combs, added.
The first portion of the exhibit will reportedly be focused on Winfrey’s role in social activism and politics, while the second section of the exhibit will be totally focused on the Oprah Winfrey Show and its cultural impact. A third section will be all about the space Winfrey occupies as a mogul and cultural influencer.
And despite the fact that Winfrey is a major donor to the Smithsonian, it was made clear in the Post‘s report that this exhibit was motivated by the museum staff and that it was funded and created out of love and admiration for this astonishing cultural figure. It’s about damn time Winfrey got this kind of honor, and it sounds like it’s being done thoughtfully; we’d expect nothing less. If you’re a fan of Winfrey’s, a pilgrimage to see this exhibit is a must.