Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Bridge to the Future . . . . .

I would highly recommend that if you are in the vicinity of a Presidential Library, no matter what your political stripe is and what his was . . . . . that you take the time to peek into that period of history.  If they all are as good as the one in Little Rock, then they should be "must sees" along with the White House, etc. 

Presidential Library in Little Rock

This was our first visit to a Presidential Library . . . and it was sorta accidental 'cause it happened to be where we landed after a day's drive  . . . .  I now would seek these buildings out and make them a destination in themselves.

What a fabulous way to preserve history. I found the architecture of this building to be so unique, very avant garde, contemporary and visionary. It is also one of the greenest buildings in the USA, leaving virtually a zero footprint on the planet.

A Bridge to the Future
The above photo was taken from the rear of the structure to showcase how the building was designed.  The vision for this library was "A Bridge to the Future" . . . the thinking being that his term of office ended at the end of one century and bridged the entrance of another.

It is also directly adjacent to the old bridge that has now been retrofitted, which is also part of the symbolic nature of the new building.

Retrofitted railway bridge

The photo below I have named "Turning a Sow's Ear into a Silk Purse".  Prior to the erection of the Library, this particular area was full of debris and extremely unsightly.  The placement of the Library in Little Rock has literally changed the landscape.  The wetlands were not just restored, but became a beautiful oasis with walking bridges, etc.  The Old Railway Bridge across the Arkansas River was restored to a pedestrian bridge and has been beautified with flower pots etc.  There has also been a tremendous amount of corporate investment in Little Rock since the Presidential Library has been situated there, as evidenced by the office towers in the background.

Silk Purse
These libraries make no political statement at all . . they house the records of the President which are looked after by the National Archives. Inside there is a replica down to the finest detail of how the Oval Office was set up during that President`s term of office. There was also a duplicate of the cabinet room.

Clinton White House Oval Office

Don't think I am going to be invited to the White House anytime soon, so it was fabulous to be this up close and personal.  Every President can choose their colour scheme . .. apparently the Bushs chose colours from the green palette and the Obamas have chosen very neutral ivory tones.

The Presidential Seal

Detail of Oval Office Rug 
Clinton administration

Part of a Chihuly glass sculpture

Dinner table depicting the china etc., and the clothing worn by the Presidential couple

The rest of the library devotes itself to showcasing memorabilia from that President`s tenure and you get to visit the timelines of history during that era.

By law no federal monies can fund the building of a Presidential Library, however, if you wish the National Archives to be involved, you must turn over all your records from your Administration. 

Interestingly enough, some Presidential Libraries have elected not to do this. 

In a perfect world,  I would have had unfettered access with my camera and a tripod without hordes of peoples milling about.  It was very difficult to get even these photos when there are roped off areas . . . . . what little gymnastic skills I have, (none, except when it comes to getting a photo I want) had to be employed to achieve this depiction. I happen to like to capture detail photos, not people photos!!!

1 comment:

  1. Great article. Little Rock is on my list of places to visit in 2012.