What is a Presidential Library?
A Presidential Library is not your typical library where you can go check out the latest bestsellers. It's a building meant for preserving and making available the papers, records and other historical materials of U.S. Presidents.
Most Presidential Libraries are also tourist attractions and seek to educate tourist about the President's term in office and important issues in their career.
Every President since Herbert Hoover has a Library. Each Presidential Library contains a museum and provides an active series of public programs.
The Bill Clinton Presidential Center sits on 17 acres of land, not including the 30 acre Clinton Presidential Park. The park includes a children's play area, a fountain and an arboretum. Also on campus is the Clinton School for Public Service, housed in an historic redbrick train station. Also nearby, thought not connected with the library, is Heifer's Global Village.
What can I find in Clinton's Library?
Clinton's library contains many artifacts from his Presidency. The library has three levels and a basement. The main exhibits are on levels 2 and 3.
Level 2 (also known as the main level) has a timeline of Clinton's career. Visitors can walk through and read about his presidency and see some artifacts from it.
This level also has "policy alcoves" with artifacts and information about various aspects of his Presidency like education, environment, economy and more. There are a total of 16 alcoves. Another interesting exhibit on this level is the collection of letters to the President and First Lady from celebrities and world leaders.
Among letters are letters from Mr. Rogers, Elton John and JFK Jr. Arsenio Hall also sent a letter to the President. An appearance on Arsenio made a big difference in Clinton's first campaign. Some of the gifts the Clinton's received while in office are also on display.
The second level has a changing exhibit area which features a different exhibit about once a quarter.
The second level also contains a model of the oval office that the guides are eager to point out was partly arranged by Clinton himself for authenticity. The photographs on the desk and the books on the back shelf are authentic but the rest of the office is a reproduction.
The second level also has an interesting look at Clinton's past. Some of the most interesting pieces on display are artifacts from the courtship of a young Bill and Hillary Clinton and materials from a high school campaign for student council president. There are other artifacts from his high school days and campaign materials from his campaigns.
In total there are 512 artifacts in display with a total of 79,000 in the collection. There are 206 documents on display with a total of 80 million in the collection. There are 1400 photographs with over 2 million in the collection.
The restaurant Forty Two can be found on the basement level of the library. Forty Two has sandwiches and deli style items along with some more interesting dishes. Forty Two has a great atmosphere and great food. The prices range from $8-10 for entrees.
The cafe and a special events room can be rented. The cafe also caters.
The gift shop is located a little bit off site at 610 President Clinton Avenue. It's about three blocks up the street from the library. There is limited parking on the street or you can walk from the library.
Where is the library?
The library is at 1200 President Clinton Avenue, which is very close to the River Market Area.
Hours and Admission Fees
Monday–Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
Parking is free. Spaces are available for tour buses and recreational vehicles.
Adults (18-61) $10.00
Senior Citizens (62+) $8.00
College Students with Valid ID $8.00
Retired Military $8.00
Children (6-17) $6.00
Children under 6 Free
Active U.S. Military Free
Groups of 20 or More with Reservations*: $8 each
The Clinton Library has several free admission days. Presidents' Day, the Fourth of July and the Saturday before Bill Clinton's birthday (November 18) are free to everyone. On Veteran's Day, all active and retired military and their families are admitted free.
Bags and persons will be searched before admission.
Can I take photographs?
Non-flash photography is allowed inside the building. Keep in mind that flash photography can destroy documents and artifacts over time. Please abide by this rule so that people for decades to come can enjoy the library.