Clinton Presidential Center#3 in Best Things To Do in Little Rock
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The Clinton Presidential Center is an educational complex named for and devoted to former President Bill Clinton. Here, visitors will find a 20,000-square-foot museum that exhibits different aspects of Clinton's administration – everything from his presidential campaign to the Clinton family's life in the White House – as well as replicas of the White House Cabinet Room and the Oval Office. The William J. Clinton Presidential Library, which houses presidential documents, is also located on-site. You can conclude your visit with a trip to the museum gift shop and refuel at the on-site restaurant, 42 Bar and Table.
Previous museumgoers enjoyed their trips. They said the museum has a good layout and provides a thoughtful overview of the Clinton administration. Others were somewhat disappointed, saying that the presidential library "pales in comparison to other presidential libraries" in the country.
The Clinton Presidential Center is located on the banks of the Arkansas River in the River Market district. It's currently closed due to the coronavirus crisis. However, under normal circumstances, it is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday and Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission costs $10 for adults and $6 for kids ages 6 to 17; discounts are available for students, seniors and the military. Free admission is available on Presidents Day, Veterans Day (for military members and their families) and one day in August to celebrate Clinton's birthday. Parking is available for free on-site. Visit the center's website for more information.
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#1 Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site
In 1957, nine Black students enrolled at Little Rock Central High School. The school had been all-white since its construction in 1927. Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Pattillo, Gloria Ray, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas and Carlotta Wells were the first Black students at the school following the 1954 Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled that school segregation was unconstitutional. The day the students went to school, they were met with a racist mob of white students as well as about 270 soldiers who barred the entrance to the high school. It took almost two weeks before the Little Rock Nine were able to access the building. Though they were able to enter the school, they faced physical and verbal abuse throughout their high school careers. The Little Rock Nine's historic and brave acts helped to spur the civil rights movement and brought national attention to the U.S.'s racist practices.
Today, Little Rock Central High School is a National Historic Site and is still a working high school. The associated visitor center sits kitty-corner to the school and features exhibits about the desegregation crisis as well as a book store. There is also a Commemorative Garden. Tours of the exterior and interior of Little Rock Central High School are also available, but must be reserved in advance through the National Park Service.
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