A visit to the Clinton Library

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One cannot stop in Little Rock without doing something connected to Bill Clinton, so in the afternoon we visited the William J. Clinton Library. Neither Bill nor Hill was there, though they do have a penthouse where they stay when they’re in town.

The library, which lies at one end of President Clinton Avenue, cantilevers out over a wetland. They wanted to have it extend over the river, but that proved impractical. (It’s a good thing he didn’t try to build it in Island County, where they have rules about wetlands.)

In addition to the museum, there’s a separate building that contains the actual archives and an old train depot that now houses the Clinton School of Public Service of the University of Arkansas. An old railroad bridge is now a pedestrian and bicycle path named after — you guessed it — Bill Clinton.

25AA4044-F7C3-4575-8FA4-D94F0198D3E2The main part of the library is a giant room with hundred of blue boxes containing less valuable documents and various displays extolling all the things Clinton did, many of which were good. It will remind you, for example, that he balanced the federal budget. The design is inspired by the library at Trinity College Dublin. There’s also a Seattle connection: part of a Chihuly glass sculpture created for the millennium celebrations

I had said that I wanted to see the Monica Lewinksy room, but Robin told me not to be annoying. However, there was indeed a section devoted to the Whitewater scandal and the impeachment.

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The museum also contains full-size replicas of the Cabinet Room and the Oval Office. (At the only other Presidential library I have visited, LBJ’s, the Oval Office is 7/8 scale. I always wondered why.) We learned that in the Cabinet Room, the President’s chair is two inches higher than everyone else’s. For $15 you can have your picture taken sitting at the Presidential desk, but we declined.

On the way out, I peeked in the gift shop, hoping they might offer a replica of Monica’s blue dress, but I didn’t see one.

The visit did make me wonder what a Trump library might be like. Will it feature an iPhone loaded with Presidential tweets? A copy of the Hollywood Access tape? Might be worth a stop-over some day.

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