My Visit To Little Rock's New William J. Clinton Presidential
By Will Robertson, Thu Dec 8th
Today, Wednesday, January 12, 2005, I visited the Clinton Library.
Itís not my favorite architecture, glass and steel, butitís nice,
and it works with the site and the message that itgives. In fact I
had a wonderful, informative, even inspiredexperience.
I went with a good friend, Craig. We met in the lobby. He showedme the Cabinet Room replica, and then we ran to catch the nextviewing of the 20 minute introductory film about Clinton, hispresidency, and the library/museum.
was well worth the time. Itís well done and informativeĖ at
least to me. Afterward, we strolled through the museum displays. Well,
Istrolled; my companion had done an internship in Washington and was
immediately glued to the first exhibit. I moved on and madea quick
brush. In 45 minutes Craig had only gotten to the third exhibit out
We were both hungry and went down to the restaurant
on the lowest level overlooking the river. It looked pretty busy,
so we walked to the River Market, only five minutes away. At the
Market I had a big ole salad and Craig had a TurkishStew. We sat
at a picnic table in front of the amphitheateroverlooking the Arkansas
After lunch we stopped at the Clinton Museum Store. It had abunch of interesting and silly Clinton
souvenirs and other stuff. This is the place to go for a
Remember to keep your ticket handy if you leave
the Clinton Library like we did. The ticket has the date on it and you can
come and go all you like that day.
The crowds both at the Clinton
Library and the River Market were diverse and lively, but not dense
or annoying. There were several high school and college groups (20-30 people).
A few small groups of Seniors (6-10 people) milled around here and there.
staff at the ClintonLibrary was really helpful and sweet, though not fully up to speed on
the details. In fact I saw one staff member in the museum section reading up
on some of the same brochures I had just gotten in the lobby. Oh well, theyíll
get the hang of it.
One staff member shared a few facts she had memorized about
the Clinton papers, the ďlibrary.Ē Apparently the ones in the museum represented
only 1% of the actual amount. The other papers are stored in archives on site
and will be made available to the public soon. The ones in the museum were
in boxes, on shelves, secured by metal bars, so you couldnít read those either.
not really a library in my mind, but
want to go through all those papers anyway. I was interested in the
Daryl Hammon video and the Oval Office replica. I also liked Chelseaís
tiny ballet shoes, displayed under glass. I wondered if she ever wants
The building is floored throughout with light stained hardwood.
Very beautiful. The day was overcast, but the whole place was still
flooded with light, as you might guess from all the windows. Photographers
will be thankful, because you arenít allowed to use a flash. Thatís
one point the entire staff is clear on.
How many times would you have to flash a replica Cabinet member
chair to fade the original, 1,500 miles away in Washington? I didnít
get it; but Iím sure they have good reasons.
The elevators are on the first floor in the main lobby. Thereare
also stairs and an escalator to the second floor. There are several
tidy bathrooms at different location in the building, all very accessible.
Floor space is plentiful, the exhibits are layed out well, and crowds
flowed well. Only a few times people got congested around some of
the videos that play throughout the building.
Inside the main row of exhibits in the museum, Clintonís voice can
be heard from several (3-6) speakers at any one location simultaneously.
The ambience was lively, and the effect was energizing, though it
wore me out after a couple hours. Not so with Craig, he stayed a
total of 7 hours until they closed at 5:00 PM.
On the 2 Ė 300 yard stroll back to the parking lot, I ducked in
Mr. Clintonís new School of Public Service. Itís housed in the red
brick, historic Choctaw Train Station. The builders have done a very
classy remodel. It certainly seemed an uplifting atmosphere for improving
your brain cells.
Before opening my car door, I did a slow 360 to take in the panorama.
Huge lawns of sod and landscaping are just taking root around the
Library. The city skyline is blossoming with fresh, invigorating
building projects. The River Market district has a new energy with
its trolley, mounted police, and a riverwalk (soon to connect with
North Little Rock across the now defunct train trestle in front of
Library). Also Heifer Project International Village Complex is being
Downtown Little Rock is becoming a fun spot. Driving away Ilooked forward to another lazy afternoon exploring the area.
About the author:Outdoors Adventurer, Writer and Webmaster Will
Robertson liveswith his family in Little Rock, Arkansas.