By: Erin Olson
Andrew DeMillo, a reporter at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in Little Rock, began his work day Wednesday at 5:30 a.m. That’s when DeMillo, who covers the downtown beat for the paper, got to the new Clinton Presidential Center for a media preview tour of the building.
How did he feel about waking up at 4 a.m. for the tour? “It was worth it,” said DeMillo, who wrote a story detailing the museum’s exhibits for the Democrat-Gazette’s Web site, ardemgaz.com.
The story, along with pictures taken by Democrat-Gazette photographers, who also toured the museum, was posted quickly. “That was one of the benefits of going in early this morning,” DeMillo explained. “We were able to get both of those online pretty immediately.”
In his article, DeMillo describes some of the museum’s points of interest, including a full-scale replica of the Oval Office, which “includes a copy of the wool rug designed for Clinton and ivy grown from cuts of the plant that sat on the real Oval Office mantel.” The second level of the building, the article reports, “is broken up into 16 thematic alcoves highlighting various parts of the Clinton legacy, from impeachment to science and technology.”
DeMillo told E&P the tour lasted about a half-hour and was led by a representative of the building’s architecture firm and a representative for the exhibit designers. He said he took the tour with about 12 other members of the media, including reporters from The North Little Rock Times, Arkansas Business, and U.S. News & World Report.
Tours were given to the press in half-hour increments between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m. Wednesday. Newspapers, magazines, and television stations had to submit advance requests to be included, “and they basically tried to schedule as many people as possible,” DeMillo said.
The Clinton Presidential Center, which commemorates the former president’s eight years in the White House, will open to the public on Friday. DeMillo, who has been covering the library as part of his beat for about a year and a half, said the opening “is not the largest event in terms of number of people. But in terms of all the security, all the arrangements — a pretty large event.”