“As an African American woman who founded her own media company and became a cultural icon watched by millions of viewers around the world, Winfrey harnessed the power of the media to break down barriers, empower herself, and inspire others,” the museum said on its website.
Visitors will experience content divided into three parts: “America Shapes Oprah,” a biographical section leading to Winfrey’s rise from 1954 to 1985; “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” which dives into the 25-year history of the show from 1986 to 2011, and “Oprah Shapes America,” a section that examines Winfrey’s role as host and executive producer amid America’s changing race and culture issues, dated from the 1980s to now.
“What’s interesting is the same way America thought about Walter Cronkite — you could trust Walter Cronkite and his opinion — they trust Oprah,” museum director Lonnie G. Bunch III told The Washington Post. “An African-American woman becomes the person America turns to.”
Winfrey is the largest individual benefactor of the museum and has donated $21 million to the $540 million museum, the Post reported. According to Bunch, her contributions did not influence the exhibition.