August 28, 2016 – William Jefferson Clinton Presidential Library and Museum – Little Rock Riverwalk Park

As the Clinton Presidential Library/Museum does not open until 1:00PM on Sundays, we spent part of the morning walking through the Riverwalk Park along the banks of the Arkansas River.  Here, Little Rock is no exception to the national trend of using public art to transform urban landscapes.  What began as just six bronze sculptures in 2004 now consists of more than over 100 pieces.  A small sampling includes;

[Unnamed Sculpture - b], Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Unnamed

Eagle of the Rock, President Clinton Avenue, River Market District, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Eagle on the Rock

Fiesta, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Fiesta

Forever a Rose, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Forever a Rose

Harriet Tubman Leading a Child to Freedom, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Harriet Tubman leading a Child to Freedom

Local Musician Hunter Brown

Love is Life, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Love is Life (wood carving)

Open Window, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Open Window

Patty Cake, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Patty Cake

Twisted Circle, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Twisted Circle

Touch the Sky, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Touch the Sky

The Jazz Player, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28The Jazz Player

The Center, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28The Center

Native Knowledge (a), Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Native Knowledge

Native Knowledge (b), Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28

Shelter Stack, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28

Shelter Stack

Petrified Log, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Petrified Log (real)

Rabbit Reach, President Clinton Avenue, River Market District, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Rabbit Reach

Some interesting flowers and

American Beautyberry, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28American Beauty Berry

Cardinal Flower, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Cardinal Flower

Obedient Plant, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Obedient Flower

Balloons Caught on a Lamppost, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Lamppost Balloons

and wildlife

Monarch Butterfly, Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28

[Unnamed Sculpture - b - Residents], Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28were also on display.

The supports of the bridges cross the river to North Arkansas are protected by giant concrete pilings …

Piliings protecting the I-40 Bridge over the Arkansas River, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28

In the wake of a number of bridge collapses, specifically including when a barge-bridge accident in 1980 in Oklahoma had become the nation's third-deadliest to that time.

 

Interspersed with among sculptures, flowers and insects are items that depict the early history of Little Rock.

Little Rock History Etching (a), Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28Jean-Baptiste Bénard de La Harpe was the first Europeans explore to record the existence of a large rocky bluff on the north bank of the Arkansas River.   According to his journal, La Harpe named it le Rocher Francçais (the “French Rock”) on April 9, 1722.  It later became known as the Big Rock.  The French referred to the smaller outcropping on the couth bank as le Petit Rocher (the “Little RockJ.  The name first appeared on a 1879 map of the area. 

Today, only a very small portion of the “Little Rock” can be seen.

The ''Little Rock'', Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28

Little Rock History Etching (b), Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28

In 1818, the U.S. policy on Indian Removal restricted the Quapaw to a reservation in Arkansas.  The western boundary, of Quapaw Line (remnants are still on view in Riverwalk Park)

Quapaw Wall (a), Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28

Quapaw Wall (b), Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28began at “the Little Rock”.  This Treaty of 1818 was the first known official use of the name Little Rock.  In 1824, a new treaty pushed the Quapaw out, marking the beginning of the Indian Removal in Arkansas.  In the 1830s, nearly all of the Indians in the southeastern U.S. came through Little Rock on their way to Indian Territory.  Hundreds of men, women and children were transported on steam boats.  Then north side of the Arkansas River at Little Rock became a major supply point.  Contractors made fortunes providing rations to Indians.  On February 24, 1839 the Little Rock Times reported that the “last of the 288 emigrating Cherokees arrived at this place on the steamer Victoria.  Nine deaths have occurred since the commencement of their journey; buy in general they look well and enjoy good health.  In the company is the celebrated [Cherokee] chief John Ross, who buried his wife in this city on Sunday”.

Little Rock History Etching (c), Riverfront Park, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28

 

Making our wayback to the our car along President Clinton Avenue

President Clinton Avenue, River Market District, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28we were amused by the fishing supply store with outboard motors used for exterior light standards

Flying Fish Light Standards, President Clinton Avenue, River Market District, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28and enjoyed the tiles under the I-40/I-30 bridge made by local children.

City Tiles (a), President Clinton Avenue, River Market District, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28

City Tiles (b), President Clinton Avenue, River Market District, Little Rock,AR - 2016-08-28

After lunch, we visited the Clinton Library …

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (b), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28as with the presidential libraries we’ve visited, it is the museum we were here to see as the libraries are used for research and, while available to the public, require a formal request including the reason for accessing the files.

The walk from teh parking lot take you past a memrial garden dedicated to Anne Frank, the Japanese who were interend during World War II, Native Americans who were involuntarily relocated as a result of the period of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 and the Central High School Integration Crisis.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Anne Frank Garden), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

When it came to designing the facility, Bill Clinton’s inspiration was the Long Room at Trinity College in Dublin which he visited during his year as a Rhodes Scholar.

DSC_3334

Our first stop was a well-done, 20-minute video presentation narrated by President Clinton.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Preliminary Video), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

The permanent exhibits at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum reflect the events, ceremonies, day-to-day workings of the White House, the lives of the President and the First Family, and the accomplishments and work of the Clinton Administration. The exhibits display the story of President Clinton’s life before becoming president, during his terms in office, as well as his post-presidential work.

First Floor

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Presidential Limousine), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28In 1993, three Cadillac Fleet wood limousines were built in Warren, Michigan for the day to day travel needs of the President. The project to build the vehicles took three years to complete and each was outfitted with state of the art protection and communication systems that allowed for communication anywhere in the world. The limousine has seating for six in the back, with three forward seats and three backwards facing seats.  One of the limousines is on display in the museum lobby.

Second Floor

The highlight of the second floor is an exact replica of the Cabinet Room as it was during Clinton’s presidency.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Cabinet Room - a), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28President Clinton’s seat was centered on the far side of the table between the US and Presidential Flags.  Vice President Gore sat directly across from him.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Cabinet Room - b), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28The six triangular iPads were there to provide additional information to visitors.

The busts of George Washington and Benjamin Franklin sit on either side of the fireplace.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Cabinet Room - George Washington Bust), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Cabinet Room - Benjamin Franklin Bust), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Cabinet Room - c), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

The Secretary of State, ranking first among the department heads, sits on the President's right. The Secretary of the Treasury, ranking second, sits to the Vice President's right. The Secretary of Defense (third) sits to the President's left, and the Attorney General (fourth) sits to the Vice President's left. Other cabinet officials seat outward in a similar order based on when their Cabinet Offices were created.  When Cabinet members conclude their terms of service, they are permitted to purchase their cabinet chairs, which bear brass plates indicating their cabinet position or positions and dates of service

The remainder of the floor is composed of a series of alcoves, each with a different theme (Economy, Environment, World Leaders, Science and Education, Crisis Resolutions, the First Family and others.  Each contains relevant artifacts, document and audio/visual exhibits … although they were very difficult to photograph as they were behind glass panels and caught the reflection from the large windows throughout the building.  Even looking on-line at sites on the Library, their photos suffer from the same problems;

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Alcove - Economy), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Alcove - Environment), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Alcove - World Leaders - a), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Alcove - World Leaders - b), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Alcove - Conflict Resolution - b), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Alcove - Safer Communities), Little Rock, AR - 210

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Alcove - Conflict Resolution - a), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Alcove - First Lady), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

and one display covering Vice President Al Gore's role during Clinton's two terms.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Work of the Vice Presdient), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

As with all presidential Museums, the highlights of their Administration’s accomplishments are hyped.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Accomplishments - a), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Accomplishments - b), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

One special alcove was dedicated the Little Rock Nine …

LIttle Rock Nine

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Little Rock Nine), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28who first integrated Little Rock’s Central High School in 1957.  In 1998, they were awarded the congressional Gold Medal.  One anonymous member of that group (apparently not even President Clinton knows the person’s identity) donated his/her medal to the Clinton Museum

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Little Rock Nine - Congressional Medal of Freedom), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

The timeline is one of the centerpieces of the permanent exhibits at the Clinton Presidential Library. It is divided into the separate years of the Clinton presidency, each year displays pictures and text about some of the most influential events that took place during that year.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Year-by-Year Panels - b), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Year-by-Year Panels - a), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Additionally, the timeline contains the daily schedule of the nearly 3,000 days that President Clinton held office. Visitors are encouraged to look through these daily schedules to gain an impression of what the day to day life of the President is like.

The blue bound books which searate the alcoves are collections of thousnads of letters and other correspoindence received from the public asking for assistance to problems and issues they are having with the Federal Government.

 

Third Floor

This area of the permanent exhibit covers the lives of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton prior to the Clinton Presidency. Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III on August 19, 1946, a few months after his father was killed in a car accident.

The first exhibit case is devoted to his childhood in Hope and Hot Springs. The second case covers Bill Clinton’s education, from his years at Hot Springs High School to his college years at Georgetown and Oxford Universities. The third case highlights Bill Clinton’s political career in Arkansas, moving from his unsuccessful run for Congress in 1974 to his years as Attorney General and Governor. The final case in this area focuses on Hillary Rodham Clinton, from her childhood in Illinois, to her education at Wellesley College and Yale, to her time as First Lady of Arkansas.

The four exhibit cases tell the story of the Clintons using photos, memorabilia from the Clintons’ childhoods and school days, letters, newspaper clippings, and political campaign memorabilia.

Gifts from the Public (just two of hundreds):

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Gifts from the Pblic - b), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Gifts from the Public - a), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Gifts from Foreign Dignitaries (only a very few on display):

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (State Gifts - b), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (State Gifts - a), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

A replica of the table setting on the 200th anniversary of the opening and occupancy of the White House by President John Adams in 1800.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Table and Placesettings for 200th Birthday of the White House), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

There are also some very funny video clips with Bill Clinton.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Humerous Clinton Video - b), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Humerous Clinton Video - a), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Humerous Clinton Video - c), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Humerous Clinton Video - d), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

However, as with several of the other Presidential Libraries we’ve visited, an exact replica of the Oval Office was the highpoint.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Oval Office - a), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28All the furniture are exact replicas of those used when Clinton was president, the books are the ones he had on his shelves of as close to reproductions as could be found, the upholsteries and curtains made by the firm which had made those actually used and the room’s dimensions accurate to wit in 1/8”.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Oval Office - b), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Oval Office - c), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

President Clinton used the “Resolute” desk during his two terms.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Oval Office - Resolute Desk), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

Many presidents have used the Resolute desk in the Oval Office or their study in the Residence.  It was made from the timbers of HMS Resolute, an abandoned British ship discovered by an American vessel and returned to the Queen of England as a token of friendship and goodwill.  When the ship was retired, Queen Victoria commissioned the desk from and presented to President Rutherford Hayes in 1880.

The desk has been modified three times.  Franklin Roosevelt requested that the kneehole be fitted with a modesty panel carved with the presidential seal (he preferred people not see his leg braces and often placed a waste basket in front of his desks), but he did not live to see it installed.

Clinton Presidential Library & Museum (Oval Office - Resolute Desk and Riser), Little Rock, AR - 2106-08-28

However, President Truman liked the eagle motif and had it installed when he came into office in 1945. Since this was prior to Truman's decision to turn the head of the eagle in the presidential seal to face the olive branch of peace, the eagle in the Resolute's modesty panel faces the arrows of war.

President Reagan had a two-inch riser added to the bottom of the desk to accommodate his height and allow him to comfortably get his legs under the knee hole.

Every president since Hayes… except Presidents Johnson, Nixon, and Ford … has used the Resolute desk, although some chose to use it in their private study in the Residence.  The desk was made famous in part by a photograph of John Kennedy at work while his son, John Jr., peeked out the front through the kneehole panel.

John John

NO …  the

Blue Dressis not housed anywhere at the Library or Museum and may be in the possession of Monica’s mother.

All in all, it is very well done.  However, as with the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, there is a noticeable absence of attention given to the more controversial aspects of President Clinton’s Administration.

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