Sunday, May 3, 2015
William J Clinton Presidential Library - Little Rock, Arkansas - 4/17/2015
Today, we will check the box on the last major goal of our driving trip when we tour the Clinton Presidential Library. We have been to the Eisenhower and Truman Libraries so it will be interesting to see how this one stacks up against them.
The library is part of a campus which includes the Clinton School of Public Service. The Clinton School’s main campus is located at Sturgis Hall in the historic Choctaw Station of the Rock Island Railroad. A generous grant from the Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable and Educational Trust funded the renovation of the Choctaw Station, which has two classrooms fitted with advanced audiovisual technology, a commons, student lounge area, library reading room, administrative and faculty offices, and conference areas. Also on campus is Heifer International, a charitable/educational organization. Heifer International's mission is to work with communities to end world hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. We also toured the Heifer Center after the library.
The library is located in downtown Little Rock and on the banks of the Arkansas River. We thought all the staff members had gather at the front door to greet us but then three busloads of high school students drove up and then we knew the truth.
The library acquired an old railroad bridge so now there is a Clinton Bridge to add to the campus attractions.
The Library Park has extensive walking trails along the river bank.
Edel and Sigrid on the bridge.
Clinton's presidential limo.
The library has a modern-industrial feel to it that I never warmed up to. It looks like a warehouse on the outside and it is very sterile looking inside. This is different from the other two libraries we visited. On the other hand, those libraries are older and built around artifacts from a different time so that may be part of the issue.
A recreated Presidential Cabinet Room.
The columns hold hundreds of paper binder boxes. It looks impressive but my guess is that they are empty since referring to anything inside would be disruptive to the library and inconvenient to reach given the height of the columns.
One of Bill's saxophones.
Each year of Clinton's presidency is summarized on a panel. After looking at them, you realize that not much really happened in the 8 years. The most notable things were the failure of Hillary Care, the Kosovo war, and Welfare Reform. The Welfare Reform was an impressive piece of bipartisan legislation that has largely been gutted since it was passed.
Presidents receive truck loads of gifts from individual people, businesses, and foreign countries. Presidents keep very little of what is given due to rules requiring reimbursement/taxes on gifts kept. It is okay to display them in a library like this.
A White House table setting.
The Oval Office recreated as it was when Bill was there.
The high school kids that we saw at the entrance undergoing some kind of training program.
A blown glass tree given to the Clintons for use in the White House during the 1999 holiday season.
I had a few cute/mean things I could say, but I won't.
It is time for lunch and to explore the River Market in Little Rock.