Friday, September 19, 2014

Clinton Presidential Center .. Little Rock, Arkansas

This is one of the many bridges that spans the Arkansas River in downtown Little Rock.   The Arkansas River Trail winds it way along this waterway passing the William J. Clinton Presidential Center.
First we stopped at the "Little Rock", named La Petite Roche, as distinguished from the Big Rock further upstream.  Discovered in 1721 by French explorer de la Harpe, it became a landmark for boats coming up the river.  Unfortunately, it got in the way of the bridge and river traffic, so it was removed.  This is the last remaining section of "Little Rock".
Just around the corner is the Clinton Presidential Center, with a Chihuly Glass Exhibition in residence.  That was a nice surprise!!
This is a very interesting building, four stories with a basement.  The first floor sports a security check with x-ray machine and the front desk where you can purchase a senior ticket for $5.00.  The views from inside are spectacular through walls of windows, as you will see in a little bit.
I think nine pieces of Chihuly glass were on display on the first floor that you can purchase if you have an extra $6,600 laying around.  Yikes ... I know he's very popular right now, but YIKES!!!  Wouldn't you be afraid it would get broken and your $6,000 would go in the trashcan???  I can have a building for my RV at that cost!!
I'm on the third floor here, looking down on the building.  All of the dark blue boxes in the side columns are archival papers from Clinton's years as President.  The bottom sections have displays, each with several videos going, which made it a little hard to concentrate on each one individually.  Clinton's life is chronicled from his years as Governor to becoming President.
Here's the view of downtown Little Rock from one of the windows.  
In the middle is a replica of the cabinet meeting room with monitors at each chair, providing more information.  There were busloads of students coming and going, so I couldn't get inside this room.
The second floor held these walls of his years in the White House, showing all the bills he signed and put into effect, along with binders of his daily schedules you could look through.
For example in 1996 he signed some legislation on welfare reform and increased the minimum wage, as well as some antiterrorism laws.
Clinton is well known for having survived impeachment concerning his "affairs" while in office, but also doubled the national investment in the Head Start Program, and instituted the Earned Income Tax Credit, a subsidy for low income workers.  
Clinton instituted the "don't ask, don't tell" directive that allowed gays to serve in the military if they didn't divulge their preferences, trying to work towards equality.  He also made improved race relations a theme of his presidency.  Clinton and Congress awarded the Little Rock Nine the Congressional Gold Medal for their attempt to integrate the local high school.
All of Clinton's "State Of The Nation" address papers are on display, including his notes.
Another window view, showing the Gilhuly glass in the pools located along the entry way.  
Along with many other displays was this replica of the lunar land rover.  All of the exhibits were enclosed in very thick glass, and with the many lights overhead, reflections were pretty bad when it came to photography.  
There is a duplicate of his Oval Office, with most everything being reproductions of course.  I overheard one of the "staff" saying that the fourth floor is like an apartment that the Clinton's stay at when in town, and that Bill spends a lot of time sitting behind this desk at night, rearranging things.
He has a collection of Company medals from all the military units he has met with, totaling over 400.
One of the few items belonging to Hilary, this Oscar de la Renta dress was pretty spectacular. 
One entire wall houses many of the gifts they received while in the White House, including this Lord Ganesh, God of Knowledge from India.  Several of Bill's saxophones were also on display.
As was his car with 5 ... count them ... 5 antennas on the trunk lid!!  
After picking up a couple geocaches, we got back to our rigs before Bingo got in full swing.  When we returned from the best Chinese Buffet in Little Rock, we were surrounded by vehicles.  I figured it would be a long night before I could sleep, but those nice people were so quiet I didn't hear a single one leave!!!
I didn't forget the Chilhuly Glass Exhibit ... I'll show you those images tomorrow morning.  We're off to Fort Smith this morning and then on to Tom and Barbara's favorite ... Tucumcari

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