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Clinton Center museum set to reopen

Facility used for meals program in pandemic, will welcome guests back July 1 by Teresa Moss | June 2, 2021 at 3:07 a.m.

The Clinton Presidential Center's museum will reopen to the public next month after being closed for more than a year because of the coronavirus pandemic, but specifics are still in the works.

The 20,000-square-foot museum at 1200 President Clinton Ave. in Little Rock is to reopen July 1. It has been closed since March 2020.

"We just felt like the time was right, and we know folks are excited to get back in," Rebecca Tennille, spokesperson for the museum, said Tuesday.

Tennille said new federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, low covid-19 cases in the state and the availability of the vaccine for volunteers were among factors officials took into account when deciding to reopen.

Details about hours and covid-19 procedures are still unknown, Tennille said. She said the staff is analyzing several details such as the time needed to clean the museum.

The center is a popular attraction in Little Rock and was named as one of the top "things to do in Little Rock" by U.S. News and World Report last month.

Tennille said the space was converted into a logistics hub for the Pulaski County Meals program during the peak of the pandemic. Multiple organizations came together to prepare, pack and deliver 700,000 meals for students throughout the school district via the program.

"We knew that would be a need," Tennille said. "A lot of our staff turned their attention to that program."

Currently the staff is working to reconvert the space into the museum, Tennille said. She said that includes fixing damaged floors resulting from the use of the program's food carts.

"We have taken time to freshen up a little bit," Tennille said.

The center houses a history of the Clinton administration, as well as traveling exhibits.

Currently an outdoor exhibit is available to the public that features 26 globes focused on solutions to climate change, according to its website. The exhibit opened May 22 and runs through the winter of 2022.

Tennille said two exhibits are planned, but details aren't ready for release.

"One is a crowd favorite," Tennille said. "We can't exactly say what it is just yet."

The Clinton Museum store also will reopen Wednesday through Sunday during the museum's regular operating hours. The store has continued online sales through the pandemic.

The museum's restaurant has already reopened and has followed CDC guidance throughout the pandemic, Tennille said. It is open for lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday; for dinner 4-9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for brunch Saturdays and Sundays.

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