Monday, October 24, 2016

The Willian J. Clinton Presidential Center & Park

On Sunday afternoon, Bob and I walked across the pedestrian bridge near us that connects North Little Rock to the Clinton Presidential Center & Park. The bridge itself is pretty interesting. It used to be an old railroad bridge but was re-purposed to provide a way for people to walk or cycle across the Arkansas River. The view from the top was amazing.

I took this photo from the pedestrian bridge, in case the weather would prevent a nice picture on Monday when we were able to visit the Clinton Presidential Center. I needn't have worried. The weather on Monday was beautiful, too.

The theme of the Presidential Center is "Bridge to the Fiture," so the Center has a bridge-like feel, and is open and airy. We started our visit with a tour by a docent who gave us a very nice overview of the Center. Bob and I then returned to the exhibits and moved at our own pace, spending over 3 hours moving through history. Many of the displays dealt with the difficulties during office as well as the accomplishments. But there were other objects to see that weren't so serious. Some of my favorite displays:
Beaded "Clinton '92" necklaces
The replica of the Oval Office as it looked from 1992-2000
The replica of the Cabinet Room

There were many items that had been given to President Clinton. I learned that, if any gift is sent to any President, it is catalogued and saved forever in that President's Library. Here are some items that were gifted to Bill Clinton.
 Nesting dolls of world leaders. From L-R: William Jefferson Clinton, George Bush, Boris Yeltsin, Mikhail Gorbachev, Helmut Kohl, John Major, Margaret Thatcher, Francois Mitterand, and Saddam Hussein.
A three-dimensional portrait of Bill Clinton, in the shape of a chair. 
A painting of the First Cat, Socks
Hand painted eggs of all the Presidents (only some on display here,) with their First Ladies painted on the back. 

Memorabilia from Bill and Hillary's childhoods were very interesting. William J. Clinton was born William J. Blythe. His father was killed in an automobile accident two months before his birth. As a teenager, Bill took the name of his stepfather and had his name legally changed to Clinton. Here is his baby bracelet.
Bill and Hillary met in law school, at Yale University. 

President Clinton's Presidential limousine is on display. 

Bob and I really enjoy visiting Presidential Libraries. This is our fifth, with 8 more to go (possibly 9, once President Obama's library is finished. We find them a great way to view a President's term of office through his eyes.

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