Clintons in Arkansas

Many tourists who come to the state of Arkansas come to seek out the places where our 42nd president, William Jefferson Clinton, grew up, lived, and governed the state. It’s come to be called a “Billgrimage,” by the Arkansas Tourist Board, a journey that takes in the local attractions related to the life and career of President Clinton. In addition to visits to his birthplace in Hope, Arkansas; the Clinton House Museum in Fayetteville (where Bill and Hillary Clinton were married); and the Old State House Museum, the backdrop for Clinton’s presidential acceptance speeches, most visitors are most intent on seeing the William J. Clinton Presidential Library Center and Park.

This crown jewel of Clinton’s legacy can be found along the banks of the Arkansas River in the city’s River Market District in the heart of Little Rock. The William J Clinton Presidential Center houses not only the Clinton Foundation, but the largest presidential archive in the country. With more than 70 million pages of documents, nearly 2 million photographs, and more than 80,000 artifacts, this is not only a scholar’s paradise, but a truly enjoyable family experience as well.

Visitor Draws
The William J Clinton Presidential Center offers visitors of all ages a great educational experience. Among the highlights of the Clinton Library and Museum are the following:

* Full-sized recreations of the White House Oval Office and Cabinet Room
* Exhibits (many interactive) depicting life in the White House, both of a personal and political nature
* A rotating schedule of temporary exhibits
* Narrated library tour by President Clinton himself
* 120-foot timeline of Clinton White House events
* Great Hall (which seats 250) used for performances and speaking engagements on topics pertinent to current global politics
* Free parking
* Forty-Two Restaurant, which offers both indoor and outdoor dining

In addition, the Clinton Presidential Center is a short walk (2 blocks) from the Clinton Museum Store, the Statehouse Convention Center, and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, located in the historic Choctaw Station.

Bringing Green Architecture to the State
The William J Clinton Presidential Center and Park has also received national attention for its green design and its integrative theme with Clinton’s inaugural vision (A Bridge to the 21st Century). The US Green Building Council awarded a Silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) to the Clinton Presidential Library when it was first built. By incorporating additional sustainable measures, in 2007, its status was increased to a Platinum certification. As the first state LEED building, the Clinton Center has become a shining example of sustainable architecture.

Community Participation
The William J Clinton Presidential Center and Park also play an important role in the life of the city of Little Rock. Hosting special events (An Evening Honoring Arkansas Educators), family friendly activities (Super Summer Saturdays in Space), performances (the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra playing in the Great Hall), and festivals (WorldFest 2009 to be held in the Clinton Presidential Center Park) throughout the year, the Clinton Presidential Center is an active participant in the Little Rock community.

The William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park has also been lauded for bringing more than $1 billion worth of business development to the River Market District in which it’s located. This area continues to grow and develop as a result of the thousands of visitors who come to experience the Clinton Center each year.

No matter what stops a visitor makes along his or her Billgrimage, it’s clear that the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park is a mandatory destination on the journey. Combining education and enjoyment, the Center and its surrounding area are great places to explore, while learning more about the legacy of the 42nd president of the United States.