Lenzy Ruffin Photography Blog

Lenzy Ruffin is a family portrait photographer in Washington, DC. 

The Oprah Winfrey Show

Part 2 of 3 showcasing the Oprah Winfrey exhibition at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. The exhibition is titled “Watching Oprah” and will be on display from June 2018 through June 2019.

This blog post is titled “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and contains content from “The Oprah Winfrey Show” section of the exhibition. The other two sections, “America Shapes Oprah” and “Oprah Shapes America” are covered in separate posts. Click the rotating images above to be taken to each respective blog post.

The set of The Oprah Winfrey Show provided a space for Winfrey to interact with her guests and the studio audience. With its comfortable chairs and tasteful decor, it also served as an idealized extension of television viewers’ living rooms, encouraging them to feel as if they were “at home” with Winfrey.

During special episodes, such as “Favorite Things” giveaways, sets were transformed into elaborate fantasy spaces. Production designer Tara Denise and her crew won multiple Emmy Awards for scenic and lighting design.

Oprah reporting on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

A visit with then Senator and Mrs. Obama, where Oprah encouraged the Senator to 1) run for president and 2) announce his candidacy on her show.


“My Dear Oprah,

You have outdone every dream we all dreampt for you — with grace and humility! Please continue your important journey. The world is watching.

Go forward with love,

Diahanne Carroll ‘06”


Writer and activist Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was Winfrey’s mentor and confidante, and a frequent guest on the show. In 2002, Angelou presented Winfrey with “Life Is Pure Adventure,” a journal featuring inspirational quotations from her work and personal messages that she wrote to Winfrey over the course of a year.


“Neither love nor hate can be legislated. However laws can be passed which afford or deny a climate where either can grow. If I am unable legally to live in your neighborhood, I’ll never have a chance to befriend your children and you’ll never have the opportunity to befriend mine.

If we were able to show kindness to each other, we might get to know each other and find—surprise—find we had so much in common, we might become friends. When friendships are made, I trust whatever device that brings it about.” — Maya Angelou

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This blog post is part of a long-term series on the National Museum of African-American History and Culture. I know everyone can’t make it to DC to see the museum, so I’m doing what I can to present this epic museum in digestible portions.

Below, you’ll see other posts I’ve done on the museum. Be sure to share with anyone you think will enjoy the series.