Billgrimage: Clinton's Arkansas

Discover the story of our 42nd president

Day 1
Start in the northwest corner of the state in Fayetteville

Visit the Clinton House Museum, a 1930’s English-style bungalow that was the first home of Bill and Hillary Clinton, and they married in its living room in 1975. The house now showcases the life and times of the Clintons during their Fayetteville years through photographs and memorabilia, including Hillary’s wedding dress and vintage campaign materials. Stop by Waterman Hall, home to the University of Arkansas Law School, where Clinton taught constitutional law from 1973 – 1976. Hillary joined the faculty in 1974 teaching criminal law. 

Day 2
Head south to Arkansas’s capital city, Little Rock, to get an in-depth look at the Clinton years.

For 16 years – 12 as Arkansas governor – Bill Clinton and his family called Little Rock home. Start with a tour of the Governor’s Mansion, built between 1947 and 1950. The mansion is a symbol of the state’s rich history, beautiful natural resources, and the spirit of the dedication to serving others, and has been the home to eleven of Arkansas’s 45 governors. 

Next, tour the Arkansas State Capitol. Clinton served as Arkansas governor from 1979 to 1981 and again from 1983 to 1992. Designed in the Neo-classical style, the capitol was built over a century ago as a replica of the US Capitol and has been used in many movies a stand-in. The capitol features Arkansas granite, six bronze doors and three chandeliers crafted by Tiffany’s of New York. Go just a few blocks to the Old State House Museum and relive history from the balcony where Clinton announced his bid for the presidency in 1991, and later delivered his acceptance speeches in 1992 and 1996. The building served as Arkansas’s first state capitol and is now a museum of Arkansas history. Next, drive by the 1908 Arkansas Gazette Building in downtown Little Rock. This historic structure served as President Clinton’s campaign headquarters during the 1992 presidential election. 

Then, on to the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Park, the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service and the Clinton Museum Store. Experience the nation’s newest and most innovative presidential library. It houses the largest collection of presidential artifacts in history. In addition to the archival collection and research facilities, the library features interactive exhibits, exact replicas of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room, and other permanent exhibits. See photographs, videos and interactive stations that include a 100-foot-long timeline presenting the day-to-day work of the president and alcoves highlighting domestic and foreign policy efforts and achievements. Traveling exhibits to the library have included the Emancipation Proclamation, White House in Miniature, Art of the Chopper, Peter Max Paints America, and many others. The University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service offers a master’s degree program in public service. Each month the school lecture series hosts free public forums featuring discussions led by distinguished speakers. The Clinton Museum Store, located just down the street in Little Rock’s River Market District, is stocked with unique gifts, presidential memorabilia, and apparel.

Day 3
‘A Place called Hope’: Birthplace and early boyhood home

Continuing southwest on U.S. Interstate 30 from Little Rock, head to Hot Springs and find Clinton’s boyhood homes, former high school, and his family church. Bill Clinton was eight when his family relocated to Hot Springs. There are two well-known homes that the Clinton family lived in during their time in Hot Springs. Park Place Baptist Church was the location of Clinton’s baptism, the Arlington Hotel ballroom hosted his junior and senior proms and Hot Springs High School is where Clinton first began his career of public service as an active member of the Key Club, Beta Club, National Honor Society and the chorus. 

End your Clinton Arkansas journey in Hope, Arkansas, where it all began. Tour Clinton’s birthplace and first home museum featuring extensive photographic exhibits about his early childhood. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 and the site includes the Virginia Cassidy Blythe Clinton Kelly Memorial Garden in honor of the president’s mother. You can also stop by his boyhood home, offering exhibits visible through the porch windows. Next stop by the Hope Visitor’s Center, which is housed in a 1912 train depot and displays artifacts and photos showcasing his life.