Because he's our favorite president...or not.

Our trip to/from my 'rents home took us right through Little Rock, Arkansas. Even though we aren't Clinton's biggest fans, we in the BRC household really like our presidential libaries so I knew we were going to stop. We have been to three together (Bush and Truman are the others) and have each visited Johnson but hadn't been to any new ones since before we started dating so adding another to the list was long overdue.

But we hadn't planned on going to Clinton's boyhood home. I was sleeping when we passed through Hope and Craig made a command decision to stop. We didn't want to spend the time or money to tour the home but we walked through the little museum area, followed by a very enthusiastic docent who insisted on explaining a variety of items and pictures to us. He had one of the strongest southern accents I have ever heard so I had to smile when he mentioned that Craig had a little bit of an accent. Luckily he was about to take our picture so he probably didn't notice I was laughing at him.

He first took a picture of us with the bust of Clinton and then insisted we take a picture on the half sized replica of the oval office rug. It was the first time we have ever been mistaken for Clinton groupies and I am pretty sure it will be the last. Overall, it was a very entertaining stop.

Then on the way back as planned we stopped at the Clinton library. We didn't spend as long as we probably would have because I was still feeling sick but I had already forced Craig to give up his Mammoth Cave stop (stomach flu + two hours hiking in a cave with no bathrooms = bad idea) and I couldn't ask him to give up a library. My impressions of the outside were not good. Maybe it was because the weather was rainy and gloomy that day but the outside had the appearance of a prison.Once inside, we skipped the orientation video and headed straight to the Cabinet room.
Here's Craig trying his best to look presidential. The rest of the second floor was a time line with alcoves highlighting the policies and key events of his presidency. It was much more political than your typical presidential library
and truthfully, kinda boring. But that wasn't the main reason I didn't like the second floor. Since Clinton's library is so new, they pumped it full of a/v methods of showcasing the information. Normally I like that type of thing in a museum (Winston Churchill's museum in London did a great job with that) but this time it didn't work. Most of the alcoves had one or two tvs with footage with an accompanying soundtrack playing. The main timeline running down the middle of the room had audio as well. It was overwhelming. At times I could hear three different Bills speaking at once. I think even Democrats would have a hard time listening to that. And with all the screens playing, they still lacked interactive stops, and places to sit. I'm a big fan of seats in museums. With my dad, brother and husband as my typical museum buddies, I find them to be quite useful.

Between boredom, nausea and vertigo from the audio, I did manage to make it through the impeachment alcove due to my sheer willpower and desire to see how it was address before taking a seat on the steps while Craig finished.
The third floor was slightly better. It had all the state gifts, which are fun. There were also two or three shadow boxes illustrating "life in the white house" and a couple little things on his early years but not very much compared to your typical presidential libary and those are the parts I like best.
Then there was the Oval office replica. Unlike the cabinet room, we were not able to enter this room, just look from behind the ropes and take pictures. I'm pretty sure all the the other libraries I have been to have allowed you to enter and take your picture at the desk so I thought the ropes were lame but I suppose they are afraid of people posing in not nice ways. But really, couldn't they could just put a guard there. After that I was about to collapse, so we finished up.

To recap, it was a disappointment. I know I am probably slightly biased since he isn't exactly my favorite president, but I don't think I would have liked the library even if I did like him as a person.


  1. I've also been to the Reagan and Nixon libraries, so I'm way ahead.

    I don't think the Johnson library lets you sit at the desk, either.

    There definitely was a lack of info on pre-White House Bill Clinton. I wanted to hear about his hippie years.

  2. Had you ever told me that? Maybe I just wasn't listening :-)

  3. I don't think I know any Clinton groupies. I was at a party with a bunch of Madison liberals last week, and we were playing Time's Up. Bill was one of the names in there, and after the round, somebody was like, "He was a great president!" and the rest of the room was like, "Uh . . . he was okay." The first person conceded the point.

  4. If Craig ran for president, I would vote for him, based only on the fact that he looked like he knew what he was doing behind the desk, and his wife is pretty. That what everyone looks for when voting right?