William Jefferson “Bill” Clinton served as the nation’s 42nd president from 1993 to 2001, leaving behind one of the richest legacies of any world leader.
In November 2004, the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park in Little Rock, Ark. was opened to the public and houses many artifacts and memorabilia of the Clinton presidency.
Author Toni Morrison once referred to Clinton as the nation’s “first Black president,” a tongue-in-cheek reference to the former president’s humble beginnings and working-class upbringing. During his two terms, Clinton was most certainly adored by the African-American community, and was one of the most effective orators to hold the office of President.
The Clinton Library took three years to construct at the cost of $165 million. The Center rests on 17 acres of land and is one of the most comprehensive facilities of its sort. Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Library in California is far bigger, but Clinton has the largest archives of them all. The Center hosts several exhibits, including many of he gifts Clinton received.
There are also replica rooms of the Oval Office that show how Clinton spent his time while on the job. The Center has also brought welcome economic change to Little Rock, igniting the creation of the River Market retail district and bringing an estimated $2 billion in development throughout the area.
The complex was designed by James Polshek’s Polshek Partnership Architects. The museum and exhibit areas were designed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates. Clinton was said to have plenty of creative input in how the art exhibits and other features of the complex would be laid out.