She wore earrings, red lipstick and red nail polish, and her hair was cut short.
Her niece, Sabrina Owens, told CNN the significance of Franklin's attire and the large floral arrangements being displayed.
Franklin died August 16 at age 76 of pancreatic cancer.
Franklin has been a constant in her life.
"What we wanted to do is be reflective of the Queen", Green said. "It's lovely. She's handsome".
She said Franklin grew up with her older family members and was beloved in the Detroit community.
Tammy Gibson, 49, of Chicago said she arrived about 5:30 a.m. She also sang at Barack Obama's inauguration in 2009.
The motorcade of the vehicles will be in honor of Franklin and her hit song, "Freeway of Love". "I was a fan of her music".
Many of those in line were from Detroit, but others traveled from as far as Las Vegas and Miami.
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"She deserves it", Howard said. "Because she touched your soul". "She didn't forget where she came from".
"She was real loving", Dorsey recalled.
"She was a symbol for us", Ann Fortson, 63, said after emerging from the rotunda.
Paula Marie Seniors, associate professor of Africana Studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, said the setting for public viewings of the superstar entertainer couldn't be more fitting.
Franklin's body will lie in repose at the museum Tuesday and Wednesday, befitting a queen who was known as much in the black community as a civil rights symbol as she was for her music.
The Queen of Soul, Seniors said, was "a singer of the universe". Yet she added that Franklin also was "so unapologetically black - she was so proud of being a black woman".
The venue was reportedly chosen because Rosa Parks's viewing took place there in 2005 and because it needs to accommodate the thousands of people expected to attend.
For all the formality, however, Owens said the viewings are meant to be welcoming and accessible for her legions of fans. "She sent them on birthdays, holidays and special occasions". "She wasn't the Queen of Rock and Roll or the Queen of R&B, she was the Queen of Soul".
One of those fans, Cheryl Matthews, never met Franklin but felt close - and hurt by the loss. "I grabbed her wrist, which was mostly skin and bone, and I could feel her pulse and her pulse was so strong". "She would give gifts to people and do things for them and a lot of times people didn't even know it was her".
Owens stressed that the viewing and other events could not happen without a group she calls "Aretha's angels".