Oprah Winfrey’s First Look At The Exhibit That Bears Her Name Brought Her To Tears

“Watching Oprah” opened at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture this week.

Few people have a legacy quite like Oprah Winfrey. The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture opened a new exhibit this week dedicated to the media mogul's influence that brought Winfrey to tears upon the first time seeing it. Accompanied by her best friend Gayle King, Winfrey's first look at the new addition to the museum was illustrative of her humility and authenticity - just two of the things that we love about the icon.


"How many people are alive who get exhibits?" Winfrey asks King at the beginning of a CBS News video that documents her seeing "Watching Oprah" for the first time. In it, Winfrey and King are accompanied by museum director Lonnie Bunch, who noted that part of the reason why the tour was so emotional was that, while Winfrey has donated to the museum, the exhibit was curated almost entirely without her input. 

Winfrey adds her commentary as they travel through her lifetime, but the most touching moment comes at the end, when she reads messages from other visitors to the exhibit. 

"Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King inspired my decision to become a journalist," one reads. While another says that ""Oprah Winfrey is the reason I love myself so fiercely and know that my voice matters."

The exhibit - which opened June 8th - documents how the era in which Winfrey was born helped shape her outlook on life, the 25-year span of the television show and her current roles producing movies, running a TV network, and giving speeches that continue to inspire us

"It made me cry because it is full circle that the mission was accomplished," Winfrey told Smithsonian.com. "The intention was fulfilled, and that was to be a mirror for people to see themselves, in other people, in others' stories; and by watching those stories of other people, be lifted, be inspired, be encouraged in a way that makes you think you can do better in your own life."

Cover image via Shutterstock / Joe Seer

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