Sunday, April 19, 2015

New at the Clinton Presidential Center: Dinosaurs!

    Although "life-sized roaring, breathing dinosaurs" may not typically be found at a Presidential Center, visitors to the Clinton Presidential Center will soon find not just one, but thirteen of the prehistoric creatures as part of Dinosaurs Around the World, which runs from April 25 to October 18 at the Center's location in Little Rock, Arkansas. Jack Horner, a paleontologist involved with the Jurassic Park movies, will even be on hand for a special opening reception on April 22.

    Stephanie S. Streett, executive director of the Clinton Foundation, says the exhibit is designed with the whole family in mind. "We are thrilled to host the global premiere of Dinosaurs Around the World and look forward to sharing this interactive and scientific exhibit with our visitors. Our summer exhibits are highly anticipated by the community because they are specifically designed to appeal to the entire family." Elsewhere on the Foundation's website is the acknowledgement that "[a]lthough the Center exists principally to house the presidential archives, 90 percent of visitors come to view the exhibits in the museum."
    While the connection between former presidents and dinosaurs may not be readily apparent, the Clinton Foundation website explains:
The exhibit also features an area that chronicles the accomplishments of four U.S. Presidents who worked to preserve the fossil-rich areas in North America where dinosaurs once roamed. Exhibit artifacts include items from the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Harry S. Truman. This display includes a dinosaur skull replica on loan from the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, an area that President Clinton designated as a national monument in 1996.
     The exhibit is produced by Imagine Exhibitions, which specializes in museum-quality exhibitions with interactive experiences for visitors. Their offerings include a new Hunger Games exhibit, a "research and study center" called Leonardo Da Vinci's Workshop, and a offering called Mob Attraction that "takes guest on a fun, exciting, interactive journey through the world of organized crime."
    Other recent temporary exhibits at the Clinton Presidential Center included "Pigskin in Peanuts" and "Heartbreak in Peanuts", which both commemorated the 65th anniversary of the classic Charles Schulz comic strip. The Clinton Foundation has not yet indicated what will take the place of Dinosaurs Around the World when the exhibit closes in October.

Note: A version of this post first appeared at The Weekly Standard.

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