Franklin Roosevelt was the first United States President to raise private funds
for a library, which he located in his home state of New York. He gave the facility
to the U.S. government, and a law was passed in 1955 providing for presidential
libraries to be operated by the National Archives. The tradition continued,
and there are now thirteen total presidential libraries administered by the
National Archives. One of these libraries, the Clinton Presidential Library
opened in 2004 and is located on the banks of the Arkansas River in Little
Rock, and is second in size only to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
in Simi Valley, California.
It is set on a 30,000 acre park in the capital city in the historic River Market District, and is easily accessible to Little Rock hotels and the major attractions in the city. Like the others scattered across the country, the Little Rock Presidential Library in Arkansas is not a library in the traditional sense. It consists of written, photographic, and physical archives chronicling the life and times of our 42nd president.
The Clinton Presidential Library contains the largest collection of presidential
papers and artifacts in U.S. history. There are approximately 76.8 million pages
of paper documents, 1.85 million photographs, and over 84,600 museum artifacts
housed in 20,000 square feet of exhibit space. Among these artifacts is a fascinating
display of the Gifts of State—the many gifts from foreign governments and heads
of state presented to the former president during his eight-year tenure. You
can also see a complete table setting for a White House state dinner and a Vera
Wang ball gown worn by Hillary Clinton for dinner with the Chinese President.
Additionally, there is a full-scale replica of the Oval Office and the Cabinet
Room as they appeared when the Clintons lived in the White House in Washington,
The Presidential Library in Arkansas hosts numerous conferences, festivals, musical performances, and special events throughout the year. Visiting shows and exhibitions are as eclectic as the former president's many interests, and range from art created by female Islamic artists to more than 250 works by American artist Peter Max to the art of the motorcycle.
The Clinton Presidential Library is open every day of the year, except Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day. Admission fees are quite nominal, and there are several free admission days, Veteran's Day, Independence Day, and Clinton's birthday. An onsite dining venue provides a place to eat, and there are picnic sites on the park grounds. There is also a museum store, offering souvenirs, collectibles, and crafts from around the world. Also located in the facility is the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, offering a Masters Degree in Public Service and sponsoring international internship programs.
The Little Rock Presidential Library in Arkansas also references other cities and towns with ties to the former president. These include his birthplace in Hope, several buildings in Hot Springs where he lived from 1954 to 1961, and in Fayetteville where he attended college.