Inside The William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

11/18/04-Little Rock, AR

Inside The William J. Clinton Presidential Library & Museum

From the outside, its design is meant to symbolize President Clinton's commitment to build a bridge to the 21st century. On the inside, you'll find 2,000,000 photographs, 80,000,000 pages of records and documents and 79,000 gifts and artifacts. The history behind the Clinton presidency is meant to be a state of the art experience; as seen when you step inside the Cabinet Room. "What's exciting here," says Exhibit Designer Ralph Appelbaum, "is that you can sit down at any of the cabinet member's desks and you can work your way through an interactive table top that reveals to you some of the great events that happened at this table."

Year by year, large panels summarize his eight years in office and the decisions he made as the nation's Commander-in-Chief. Surrounding the panels are individual "alcoves" of a more in-depth look into what President Clinton wanted to be remembered for. The first alcove is titled "Putting People First" which is supported by interactive videos, documents and photos of Clinton investing in Americans. The alcove "Building A Global Community," showing the leaders President Clinton worked with closely to build peace around the world. Even Senator Hillary Clinton earned her own section about her impact as the former First Lady of the United States. "There are speeches here," say Appelbaum pointing to the exhibit, "that she made in China and you can see the kinds of engagements from promoting a just world... even running for the Senate."

The darkest days of the presidency are also on display, including his extra-marital affair with Monica Lewinsky that led to the impeachment process.

"Was the president vocal about including that," reporter Christine Nelson asks.

"Oh absolutely, he insisted on a very full alcove being given on that period and wished it to be explained... it is quite fully with documents and videos," said Appelbaum.

The second floor consists of a more intimate side of the Clinton family. There are family pictures, sports memorabilia, table settings and attire for state dinners, and an exotic Christmas tree that stood in the White House during the holidays.

It is considered the epicenter of the American Presidency. Inside the museum is a full-scale replica of the Oval Office which includes items and memorabilia which inspired the president through his administration.

"There's so much you could have included in here. How did you decide what stayed and what not to include," Nelson asks.

"The whole process was a process with the President, staff, and key advisors and the President took an active interest in essentially selecting every object and approving every object," said Appelbaum.

Objects that make up eight years of American history which is now at the world's fingertips.

Christine Nelson, reporting.

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