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The Clinton House Museum

Courtesy Experience Fayetteville

The Clinton House Museum is a different twist in terms of house museums.

“When you come here, you see where it all began,” said museum director Kate Johnson. “On most tours of presidents’ homes, you see where they were born, not where he and his wife started everything. Here, you get a glimpse into the making of a president.”

Rooms in the small cottage are filled with displays instead of furniture and the displays are easily moved so groups can use the living room for meetings or receptions. For example, University of Arkansas (UA) law professors had a retreat a the home.

Even before the Clintons, the modest home was a magnet for movers and shakers. Oilman H.H. Scotty Taylor was the home’s second owner. It’s said that Gilbert Carl Swanson hatched the idea for chicken pot pie when he lived there. Another owner, Warren Gifford, was a UA college of agriculture professor considered “A god in the ag field,” said Johnson.

Then there were the Clintons. Hillary had already declined Bill’s marriage proposal once but said “yes” after he bought the house on California Avenue that Hillary had admired when the couple drove by it one day. The two were married in the home’s living room in the fall of 1975.

Among the highlights is the kitchen, in its mod 1970s orange decor, where campaign strategies were cooked up.

Parties can be enlivened with local music groups, such as the Saxtones, a nod to Clinton and his saxophone playing.“During the National Democratic Hispanic caucus, we set up a big-screen TV in the yard so they could watch a Razorback football game,” said Johnson.

Receptions can spill from the small home into a First Ladies Garden, planted with favorite perennials and shrubs of presidential wives from both parties.

“We wanted to do it as nonpartisan,” said Johnson.