Video: Clinton library

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updated 11/18/2004 3:20:48 PM ET 2004-11-18T20:20:48

On the banks of the Arkansas River, you first notice the stunning architectural design. It was inspired by President Clinton's commitment to build a bridge to the 21st Century. And that he did with his new library, officially open to the public.

Inside the Clinton Presidential Center are 75,000 museum artifacts, nearly 2 million photographs, and 76 million pages of documents. Today the library offered its very first tour.

There are the recognizable symbols of the presidency, like Air Force One and Presidential Motorcades. You can visit the Clinton White House cabinet room with interactive displays. The library includes an exact model of the oval office as it looked during the Clinton years, right down to the items on his desk.

Nothing has been left out, from President Clinton's compassion in Oklahoma City, to his diplomacy over seas, to the impeachment battle.

But for all the historical seriousness, the library also offers the lighter moments. Exhibits also include meeting sports heroes, dressing up for Halloween, or telling black tie one-liners.  You can re-live nights at the White house with a replica of a state dinner table, the inaugural gown worn by Mrs. Clinton, tributes to saxaphones, and a memorial to the family pet.

All together the library cost $165 million. The construction of this library and park has prompted a flood of development in an area that used to be a grimy warehouse district. Now, nice shops and hotel rooms moved in next door to the library. City officials expect this site to attract over 300,000 visitors a year.

E-mail: DShuster@MSNBC.com

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