2 Exhibits on George Washington in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK - Two exhibitions about George Washington are open in Arkansas, one at the Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock and one at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville.

The Clinton Center exhibit is open until July 12 and features Washington's personal copy of the first Acts of Congress. The leather-bound volume is on display in the orientation theater in the center of the second floor of the museum near downtown Little Rock.

The volume is open to pages that detail the powers of the presidency and margin notes in Washington's hand are faintly visible.

The document was purchased at auction for $9.8 million by the Mount Vernon Ladies Association and will be displayed at a library on the grounds of Washington's home, Mount Vernon President and CEO Curt Viebranz said.

"This would be the keystone document for display at the library," Viebranz said in a talk at the Clinton Center on Friday to mark the opening of the exhibit.

Washington's Acts of Congress is touring the nation's 13 presidential libraries. The last stop will be the Harry S. Trumann Presidential Library in Independence, Mo., Sept. 12-21.

The Clinton Center exhibit also includes facsimiles of two letters and, on loan from Crystal Bridges, a portrait of Washington by Gilbert Stuart from 1797.

Normal Clinton Center admission charges apply, though there is no admission charge on July 4.

The exhibition at Crystal Bridges, open through Sept. 30, includes letters by Washington and a land survey he documented when he was 19 years old. In addition to being a soldier, planter and politician, Washington also worked as a land surveyor.

The "Surveying George Washington" exhibition also includes letters by contemporaries of Washington who knew him.

Organizers say the exhibition strives to bring out Washington's persona traits to bring him down to earth from his status as a lofty historical figure. The documents cover different times of Washington's life, from his role in the French and Indian War to his personal secretary's notice of Washington's death in 1799.

There is no charge to see the regular collection and the Washington exhibit at Crystal Bridges.

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