Susan Lucci at the Smithsonian
05/10/2013 at 04:00 PM EDT
It was a PEOPLE magazine cover
to honor Susan Lucci's first Emmy victory, and now it will join the permanent collection at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History.
On Thursday, Lucci was on hand in Washington, D.C., to officially sign over the pink satin dress and pink bejeweled Manolo Blahnik heels she wore for the June 7, 1999, issue celebrating her win after 19 consecutive nominations
Also donated was an original copy of the magazine, and Lucci completed the offering with an autographed copy of an original All My Children
script from when she played TV vixen Erica Kane.
"When this PEOPLE magazine came out, the people at All My Children
blew it up right away," Lucci told PEOPLE. "It was framed in the hair and makeup room from the day I won, until the day All My Children
went off the air at ABC."
"And they also put one outside of my dressing room, so that it said my name and then there was the cover," she said. "It's a very big deal to be a solo cover on PEOPLE magazine. It was at that time and it remains that."
What Lucci remembers of the Smithsonian-worthy dress: "I bought it at Bergdorf Goodman. I don't remember who it's by. I just know that I loved it and it's French."
"Although I'd still love to wear this dress and these shoes," Lucci added, "I'm so honored that the Smithsonian would like them."
But it will take some getting used to.
"I don't think that I have wrapped my mind around [seeing my things at the Smithsonian] quite yet," she said. "I picked up my shoe and they said, 'No, from now on you can't touch anything unless you are wearing white gloves.' There's a lot that goes with this. It's an honor. It's a place I have visited with my own children. The Smithsonian is a big deal in our collective American mentality."
Now that the Smithsonian has partnered with the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences – simultaneously accepting a donation from Jeopardy
host Alex Trebek – her family has an even bigger reason to visit.
"They probably won't be impressed at all because they remember it," Lucci said. "But my own children are very impressed. My son called me on the way here to say, 'This is such a big deal, mom! Tweet how you feel.' And I did, I tweeted that I was thrilled!
Lucci's only other wish: "That my father, a history buff, was here today to see me in the Smithsonian."