The permanent exhibits at the William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum reflect the day-to-day workings of the White House and the Clinton administration, including domestic and foreign policy, ceremonies and events, and the daily life of the Clinton family. The exhibits tell the story of President Clinton's life before becoming President, during his terms in office, and his post-Presidential work with the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative.

The exhibit areas are located on all three floors of the Library. The Ground Floor houses the Presidential limousine and one of two Temporary Galleries. The Second Floor has the Orientation Theater, a replica of the White House Cabinet Room, the Presidential timeline, and exhibit alcoves featuring the work of the Clinton administration. The Third Floor houses a replica of the Oval Office, the Third Floor Temporary Gallery, and exhibits about life in the White House.

Maps and tour information are available at the Admissions Desk located on the Ground Floor. Select the photos below to further explore the exhibits.

2nd Floor Exhibit

First Floor Exhibit Highlights:

  • Limo

    The Presidential Limousine and the US Secret Service

    In 1993, Cadillac built three Fleet wood limousines in Warren, Michigan to be used by the President. The project took three years to complete, and each was outfitted with state of the art protection and communication systems that allowed for communication anywhere in the world. The limousine has seating for six in the back, with three forward seats and three backward facing seats. One of the limousines is on display in the museum lobby.

    The Secret Service was created as a part of the Department of the Treasury on July 5, 1865 to investigate the counterfeiting of United States money. After the assassination of William McKinley in 1901, Congress added the protection of the president to the duties of the Secret Service. Since Theodore Roosevelt, the Secret Service has protected the President, Vice-President and their families. Additionally, the president-elect, vice president-elect and their families, visiting heads of state, major presidential candidates, and others at the direction of the president are also protected by the Secret Service. The Secret Service is now a part of the Department of Homeland Security.

    When the Presidential Limousine was moved to the Clinton Presidential Library, it presented a unique challenge in that it needed to be installed in an exhibit space that was not yet completed. Following the positioning of the limousine, staff continued to construct the exhibit itself around the limo.

Second Floor Exhibit Highlights:

  • Little Rock Nine Exhibit
    Little Rock Nine Exhibit

    Little Rock Nine

    “Seeing the Little Rock Nine face down the angry mob fascinated me, and inspired an emotional bond that has lasted a lifetime.”

    –From President Clinton’s foreword to A Mighty Long Way, by Carlotta Walls LaNier, 2009

    In 1957, nine African-American teens attempted to integrate Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, but Governor Orval Faubus ordered the National Guard to block their entry. President Dwight D. Eisenhower sent the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, and on September 25th, they escorted the Little Rock Nine into the school through the angry mob that had gathered outside. Then 11-year-old Bill Clinton followed the events from his home in Hot Springs and was inspired by their bravery.

    In 1999, President Clinton presented the Congressional Gold Medal to each of the Little Rock Nine on behalf of the U.S. Congress in a special ceremony at the White House. The Nine collectively donated one of these medals for exhibit at the Clinton Presidential Library. The medal is displayed in this exhibit, along with a narrative of the crisis, President Eisenhower’s televised address on Central High, and video of the White House ceremony in which the Nine were awarded the medal.

  • Situation Room
    Situation Room

    Preparing for New Threats

    “So even as we reduce the global stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction, we must also reduce the danger that lethal materials could wind up in the wrong hands, while developing effective defenses for our people if that should happen.”

    –President Clinton, Address to the 51st General Assembly of the United Nations, September 24, 1996

    When the Cold War ended, the United States faced two new challenges to its national security: the rise of global terrorism and the potential spread of weapons of mass destruction. The United States was the target of a series of attacks by terrorists in the 1990s, from the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 to the attack on the USS Cole in 2000. President Clinton made the fight against terrorism a top priority, increasing funding for counter-terrorism and working with other countries to freeze terrorist assets, gather intelligence, and track down fugitives. The Clinton administration thwarted a number of terrorist plots, including planned attacks on New York City tunnels, airlines, and New Year’s Eve millennium celebrations.

    The administration also sought to get “loose nukes” under control and to prevent the spread of WMDs. In 1995, the United States agreed to an indefinite renewal of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which President Clinton convinced other heads of state to sign. In 1997, President Clinton convinced the Senate to ratify the Chemical Weapons Convention, an international ban on the development and stockpiling of chemical weapons, making it less likely that they would fall into the hands of terrorists.

    This exhibit includes military gear and models of weapon systems developed as part of the administration’s plan to create a more agile U.S. military to face the challenges of the 21st century.

  • Building One America
    Building One America

    Building One America

    “The ideals that bind us together are as old as our nation, but so are the forces that pull us apart.  Our founders sought to form a more perfect union.  The humility and hope of that phrase is the story of America, and it is our mission today.”

    –President Clinton, Commencement Address at the University of California San Diego, June 14, 1997

    President Clinton took office at a time when racial demographics in the United States were changing while social and economic gaps were widening. He saw the country’s diversity as a source of strength and made sure that diversity was reflected in those who staffed his administration. 

    To help alleviate poverty, he raised the minimum wage and the Earned Income Tax Credit. He called for the creation of Empowerment Zones to encourage private investment in economically disadvantaged communities. And he defended affirmative action against those who sought to end it. President Clinton sought to promote dialogue between groups, inviting leaders of all major faiths to the White House, creating a White House office on racial issues, and establishing the first presidential liaison to the gay community. In the wake of a number of high-profile hate crimes in the 1990s, he called for tougher laws against them, and made church arson a federal crime. In 1993, President Clinton created AmeriCorps, a domestic Peace Corps that enabled young people to gain work experience and pay for college through community service.

    This exhibit includes speeches and correspondence dealing with these issues, as well as burnt wood from Mt. Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, Greeleyville, South Carolina and memorabilia from AmeriCorps teams around the country.

  • Learning Across a Lifetime
    Learning Across a Lifetime

    Learning Across a Lifetime

    “We must expand the frontiers of learning across a lifetime.  All our people, of whatever age, must have the chance to learn new skills.”

    –President Clinton, State of the Union Address, February 4, 1997

    Believing that America’s prosperity depended on its people having the skills to compete in the emerging information-based economy, President Clinton worked to improve educational opportunities for people of all ages. Programs such as Healthy Start, Head Start, America Reads, and the 21st Century Community Learning initiative expanded access to prenatal care, pre-school, tutoring, after school programs, and summer school. President Clinton called for higher standards, hired more teachers, wired schools to the Internet, and supported the creation of charter schools. He increased federal college aid in the form of grants, work-study programs, tax credits, scholarships, and lower student loans. Adults who were already in the workforce gained easier access to training and employment assistance through government education and employment programs. 

    This area of the permanent exhibit provides an overview of Clinton administration education initiatives through text, photographs, video, and objects, including children’s drawings and letters to the President and some of the President’s favorite books.

  • Putting People First
    Putting People First

    Putting People First

    “You have to put your people first.  You have to educate and invest and provide affordable health care to all … because we don’t have a person to waste.”

    –Governor Clinton, Address to the Conference of Mayors, June 22, 1992

    In keeping with his belief that government could be a force for positive change in people’s lives, President Clinton took action to ensure the health and security of millions of Americans. In 1993, he signed the Family and Medical Leave Act, which enabled workers to take time off to care for newborn children and sick family members. His attempt to reform the nation’s health care system was defeated, but it set the stage for improvements such as the Children’s Health Insurance Program. In 1996, President Clinton signed a welfare reform law designed to move people from welfare to work, ending welfare as a way of life. Anticipating the retirement of the baby boom generation and the burden that would place on Medicare and Social Security, he enacted strict fiscal policies that extended the life of the Medicare and Social Security Trust Funds.

    This exhibit area includes letters sent by citizens to the President and First Lady during the health care reform debate of 1993 and 1994, and a timeline of actions taken by the Clinton administration to improve the lives of children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly.

  • Confronting Conflicts
    Confronting Conflicts

    Confronting Conflicts

    “There is only one crucial division among the peoples of the Earth. It is the line between those who embrace the common humanity we all share and those who reject it.”

    – President Clinton, March 25, 1998

    Throughout his presidency, President Clinton seized opportunities to assist countries around the world in solving conflicts, as well as protecting those faced with oppression. President Clinton committed himself to achieving peace in the Middle East. While this was not accomplished during his administration, tremendous strides were made. He also worked very hard on ending the conflict in Northern Ireland between the Irish Republican Army and the government of the United Kingdom, ultimately finding success in the Good Friday Accords of April 10, 1998, ending the decades-long conflict.

    This exhibit provides an overview of Clinton administration foreign policy regarding international conflicts through photographs, text, and objects from around the world—including commemorative awards, a letter from Bono of U2, and a Northern Ireland peace process chess set.

  • Protecting the Earth
    Protecting the Earth

    Protecting the Earth

    “As we begin the new millennium, let our gift to the future be a new effort, together across party lines, to clean our air, to ensure safe water, and to preserve healthy, thriving lands.”

    –President Clinton, October 30, 1999

    After he used the newly passed Antiquities Act to create the first national monuments in 1906, Theodore Roosevelt urged the United States to take a “long look ahead” at protecting the nation’s environment. President Clinton took up that charge and made protecting the environment a top priority of the administration. During the 1990s, President Clinton protected more land than any previous president. In addition to the expansion and creation of national monuments, the Clinton administration pushed for the strongest air and drinking water quality protections in history. The Clinton administration also took on global warming, including the Clean Car Initiative, with the goal to “develop affordable, attractive cars that are up to 3 times more fuel efficient than today’s cars.”

    This exhibit describes Clinton administration environmental policy through photographs, video, text, and archival papers from the Clinton Library’s collection.

  • Making Communities Safer
    Making Communities Safer

    Making Communities Safer

    “If the American people do not feel safe on their streets, in their schools, in their homes, in their place of work and worship, then it is difficult to say that the American people are free.”

    –President Clinton, September 13, 1994

    This exhibit explores the domestic crime policy of the Clinton administration with photographs, charts, video, and objects from the collection of the Clinton Library. 

    In the face of rising crime rates, including a gun violence rate that reached a twenty-year high in 1992, President Clinton made public safety and commonsense gun control a national priority in the early years of his presidency. The “Brady Law,” named for former Reagan press secretary James Brady who was paralyzed during the attempted assassination of President Reagan in 1981, was passed in 1993. The law established a waiting period, background checks, and prohibited certain people from purchasing a firearm. The omnibus crime bill instituted stronger penalties for some crimes and increased the number of jails and prosecutors in the country while expanding treatment programs for substance abuse offenders. The bill also called for a new emphasis on “community policing” in order to gain the trust and respect of local residents in higher-crime areas. As a result of this emphasis on public safety, crime rates fell every year that President Clinton was in office, eventually reaching a 27 year low by the end of his administration.

  • Inauguration

    The Inauguration

    “There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.”

    — President Clinton, First Inaugural Address, January 20, 1993

    President Clinton was inaugurated on January 20, 1993. Visitors can watch a video of highlights from the 1993 inauguration and the days leading up to the ceremony. This exhibit includes photos and video of the Clintons’ visit to the graves of John and Robert Kennedy, the Pre-Inaugural Gala, the Inaugural Prayer Service, President Clinton Clinton’s swearing-in, his Inaugural Address, poet Maya Angelou reciting her poem “On the Pulse of Morning,” the Inaugural Parade, and the Inaugural Balls. Visitors can also see the saxophone President Clinton played at the Arkansas Inaugural Ball.

  • Campaign

    Campaign for the Future

    This exhibit tells the story of Bill Clinton’s campaigns for president. It includes a video of highlights from the 1992 campaign, a timeline, a collection of political buttons from both campaigns, and other campaign memorabilia—including the sunglasses Bill Clinton wore on the Arsenio Hall Show.

    When Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton decided to run for President in 1991, incumbent President George H. W. Bush had a 90% approval rating and was seen by many as unbeatable. After coming in second in the New Hampshire primary, Governor Clinton swept primaries in southern states on Super Tuesday to become the front-runner in the Democratic primary. In the general election he faced President Bush and independent candidate Ross Perot. As the first baby boomer to be nominated for president, Governor Clinton was seen as youthful and energetic and presented himself as the candidate of change, addressing issues such as the economy and health care. On Election Day, he won 32 states and the District of Columbia, getting 370 electoral votes to Bush’s 168. 

    In 1996, President Clinton ran for re-election, promising to “build a bridge to the 21st century.” This time he was challenged by Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole of Kansas and, once again, Ross Perot. He won the election with 379 electoral votes.

  • Timeline

    Presidential Timeline

    “Each of us must hold high the torch of citizenship in our own lives. None of us can finish the race alone. We can only achieve our destiny together—one hand, one generation, one American connecting to another.”

    –President Clinton, January 23, 1996

    The timeline is one of the centerpieces of the permanent exhibits at the Clinton Presidential Library. It is divided into separate sections for each year of the Clinton presidency. Each section displays pictures and text about some of the most important events that took place during that year. It includes the daily schedule for each day that President Clinton held office. Visitors are encouraged to look through the daily schedules to see what day-to-day life of the President is like.

    On the opposite side of the timeline, visitors can use touch-screens to view the daily schedules as well as correspondence sent to President Clinton during his time in office. Letters from famous individuals including politicians, heads of state, and celebrities are also on display.

  • Science and Technology
    Science and Technology

    Science and Technology

    “[The Technology Revolution] is a powerful, sweeping transformation … but we can already see its potential: Giving millions of Americans the opportunity to join in the enterprise of building our nation.

    -President Clinton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Commencement, June 5, 1998

    As the 21st century approached, the pace of scientific discovery continued to accelerate. Under President Clinton, the federal government provided increased funding for research, including new frontiers of science such as biomedical research and nanotechnology. In 2000, he announced the completion of the Human Genome Project, which produced a map of human genetic code. 

    President Clinton also recognized that a technological revolution was underway with the potential to drive economic growth. He believed that new technology should narrow, not widen social and economic gaps between people. His administration encouraged the spread of the Internet. He worked to bridge the digital divide, connecting schools and libraries to the Internet and providing funding for community technology centers in low-income areas.

    This exhibit alcove includes documents and objects relating to science and technology during the Clinton years, including the Telecommunications Act of 1996, an e-mail sent to President Clinton by Senator John Glenn from an orbiting spacecraft in 1998, two personal computers from 1993 and 2000, and a model of the Mars Pathfinder rover.

  • Cabinet Room
    Cabinet Room

    The Cabinet Room

    The Cabinet Room was added to the West Wing of the White House in 1902 by President Theodore Roosevelt. It was renovated and expanded in 1934 during Franklin Roosevelt’s administration to its present state. The Cabinet Room is a comfortable place for the president to meet with the cabinet and other officials. During the Clinton administration, policy decisions, military plans for Kosovo and Bosnia, and peace agreements for the Middle East as well as Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom were all discussed in the Cabinet Room.

    The Cabinet Room at the Clinton Presidential Library is a full-scale replica. Visitors are encouraged to sit around the table and explore the touch-screen interactive displays about the Executive Office of the President.

  • New Markets
    New Markets

    Expanding Our Shared Prosperity

    “We must put a human face on the global economy. An international market that fails to work for ordinary citizens will neither earn, nor deserve, their confidence and support.”

    –President Clinton, Remarks at the International Monetary Fund/World Bank Annual Meeting, October 6, 1998

    President Clinton recognized that globalization was neither good nor bad but an inevitable fact. The world was becoming more interdependent, and he believed that the United States could not build its own future without helping others to build theirs. Recognizing that an economic crisis anywhere can affect economies everywhere, the administration intervened to prevent financial crises in Mexico, Asia, and elsewhere from spreading around the world. Seeing trade as an engine of prosperity, the Clinton administration opened new markets to American goods through trade agreements, including the historic North American Free Trade Agreement, and incorporated labor and environmental protections into international trade policy.

    President Clinton also worked to close the divide between the developed and developing world. In 1999, he announced that the U.S. was willing to forgive debt owed by poor countries if those countries spent the savings on health, education, and poverty reduction. The administration also financed 2 million micro-credit loans to help people in poor countries start businesses. This exhibit alcove includes documents on the subject of globalization as well as gifts to the President from countries in the developing world.

  • Restoring the Economy
    Restoring the Economy

    Restoring the Economy

    “I am going to focus like a laser beam on this economy.”

    – President Clinton, November 4, 1998

    As Bill Clinton took office following the 1992 election, the United States faced rising interest rates and large government deficits. He proposed a new three part economic system composed of balancing the federal budget for the first time in a generation, making investments in technology, and opening new markets to products from the United States. The country saw its largest peacetime economic expansion in history and was met with record surpluses and higher income for all economic classes. In addition to objects and archival records, the story of this economic advancement is told with video of President Clinton outlining his plan, and a timeline of the economic growth the country experienced.

  • Orientation Theater
    Orientation Theater

    The Orientation Theater

    We encourage visitors to the Library to begin their tour in the Orientation Theater. President Clinton narrates a 12-minute film about his life and presidency. In it, President Clinton talks about his childhood, how growing up in Arkansas shaped his political views, his political career prior to becoming President—including his time as Governor of Arkansas, the 1992 presidential campaign, and his time as President of the United States. It includes video of fellow world leaders such as King Hussein of Jordan and South African President Nelson Mandela speaking about the Clinton presidency.

    Photographs taken by the photographer PF Bentley, who was on assignment from TIME magazine to document President Clinton's 1992 campaign, line the exterior wall of the theater.

Third Floor Exhibit Highlights:

  • Gifts of the People
    Gifts of the People

    People's Gifts

    Since the earliest days of the United States, Americans have given gifts to Presidents and their families. President Clinton received tens of thousands of gifts during his eight years in office. People gave him a wide variety of gifts, from fancy to ordinary to truly unique. The gifts reflect the President’s personality, his interests, and events that occurred around the time they were given. Some are patriotic. Others reference President Clinton’s home state of Arkansas. Many bear his likeness or those of the First Lady, daughter Chelsea, or pets Buddy and Socks. This exhibit contains some of these gifts given to the Clintons.

  • Celebrations

    Celebrations at the White House

    The Clintons hosted many events at the White House, including picnics on the South Lawn, arrival ceremonies for visiting heads of state, and White House tours. This exhibit looks at some of these special occasions, such as the annual Easter egg roll and events commemorating the turn of the millennium. These celebrations reflected the diversity of holiday traditions in America. Among the holidays celebrated at the White House were Saint Patrick’s Day, Independence Day, Ramadan, Thanksgiving Day, Chanukah, and Christmas. 

    This exhibit features photos and objects relating to various holidays and special events, including a glass sculpture created by artist Dale Chihuly for the White House Millennium Celebration, hand-made Christmas tree ornaments, hand-painted Easter eggs, and crystal bowls given by the Prime Minister of Ireland to commemorate Saint Patrick’s Day.

  • Entertaining At The White House
    Entertaining At The White House

    State Events

    One of the President’s roles is to host foreign heads of state who visit the United States. President Clinton met with over two hundred foreign leaders who made trips to the U.S. and hosted 22 heads of state during official state visits at the White House. These visits have strategic and symbolic importance, and are very carefully planned.

    This exhibit provides a look at these events and how the White House staff planned them. It includes a timeline of an official state visit from start to finish, a table setting for a White House state dinner, and a large display of gifts to the Clintons from foreign heads of state.

  • Oval Office
    Oval Office

    The Oval Office

    The William J. Clinton Presidential Library features an exact replica of the Oval Office in the White House as it appeared during the Clinton administration. Visitors to the museum have the opportunity to tour the office and have their picture taken behind the Resolute desk, which can be purchased as a souvenir.

    The exhibit features replicas of the furniture and artwork on display in the Oval Office during the Clinton administration. The Resolute desk, the President's working desk, features replicas of the personal photos and objects he liked to surround himself with as he worked. 

  • People's Gifts
    People's Gifts

    Making the White House a Home

    The White House was the Clintons’ only home during President Clinton’s two terms in office. They found ways to personalize it and make it theirs. Each of them had favorite spots in the White House and surrounded themselves with items that held special meaning for them. This exhibit covers family celebrations, family memories, the First Pets, and two topics of great interest to President Clinton: sports and music. It includes family photos, gifts to the First Family bearing their likenesses, sports memorabilia, and saxophones given to President Clinton.

  • The Early Years
    The Early Years

    The Early Years

    This exhibit covers the lives of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton prior to the Clinton Presidency. The four exhibit cases tell the story of the Clintons using photos, memorabilia from the Clintons’ childhoods and school days, letters, newspaper clippings, and political campaign memorabilia.

    The first exhibit case is devoted to his childhood in Hope and Hot Springs. The second case covers Bill Clinton’s education, from his years at Hot Springs High School to his college years at Georgetown and Oxford Universities. The third case highlights Bill Clinton’s political career in Arkansas, moving from his unsuccessful run for Congress in 1974 to his years as Attorney General and Governor. The final case in this area focuses on Hillary Rodham Clinton, from her childhood in Illinois, to her education at Wellesley College and Yale, to her time as First Lady of Arkansas.