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Arkansas Governor's Mansion

Tours


Scheduling of Tours

Mansion tours are scheduled on an individual basis. Requests may be made by calling 501-324-9805. Tours are scheduled on Tuesday mornings, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., and Thursday afternoons, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. The tours must be scheduled one day in advance. Times are subject to house availability. The tours include visits to all public rooms. There is no admission fee.


Virtual Tour

Click here for virtual tour The Arkansas Governorís Mansion and the Arkansas Newspaper Foundation (ANF) presents the new Virtual Tour featuring educational resources emphasizing our State's culture, arts and history. Education materials can be accessed on the ANF website.

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Online Tour

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Welcome to the Mansion Tour

Mansion Exterior Welcome to the Arkansas Governor's Mansion. Since its opening on January 10, 1950, the Mansion has served as the personal residence of Arkansas's Governors and their families. We are always pleased to greet visitors from across the State and from all over the world. From the many fine furnishings, works of art, and symbolic pieces connecting this residence to the State's rich history, to the beautifully landscaped gardens and grounds, the Governor's Mansion is truly "Arkansas's Home."

The Basics

The Arkansas Governor's Mansion sits on eight-and-a-half acres in the heart of the historic Quapaw Quarter of Little Rock. The three- story home was designed by Cromwell Architects of Little Rock in 1948 in a modified Georgian-Colonial style. The main (or first) floor contains three public rooms. Brick colonnades leading from the main house to east and west wings were added in the 1950s. Bricks used in constructing the Mansion were taken from the old Arkansas School for the Blind, which sat on the property from 1880 to 1939. The house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places after Governor Clinton was elected President of the United States. The combined area of the house, atrium, and Grand Hall is just over 30,000 square feet. Other buildings on the property include the headquarters of the Executive Protection Detail and a large Carriage House for maintenance and storage.

Formal Living Room

Grandfather Clock The Formal Living Room of the Mansion is the center of welcoming activities. The Governor and First Lady often host receptions and meetings with visiting dignitaries in this elegantly furnished room. The Mansion's oldest piece of furniture is located here. The "grandfather" or "cabinet" clock was made in Waterford, Ireland, in 1770 and was a gift given to honor Governor Francis Cherry (our 35th Governor) by his wife, Margaret Frierson Cherry. The clock is older than the United States and still runs and chimes every hour on the hour.

Persian Rug Winthrop Rockefeller, Arkansas's 37th Governor, donated the beautiful antique Persian rug in this room. It is considered a treasure of the State.

The peg-and-groove wood flooring in this room, the library, and the dining room was also installed during the Rockefeller administration and was donated by Potlach Corporation (a wood-products company in Arkansas) and contains no metal nails, only wooden pegs.

A portrait of General James Miller, Arkansas's First Territorial Governor, hangs over the fireplace. The painting is also significant because it was painted by Samuel F. B. Morse, the creator of the Morse code. It is on loan from the Arkansas Art Center, as is the portrait of General George Izard, the Second Territorial Governor of Arkansas, also displayed in this room.

Living Room Living Room

Other features of the room include a baby grand piano made by Baldwin Piano Company (another Arkansas company) and a painting by a French artist depicting a scene in Paris. The painting was part of the "Merci Train" collection of gifts from the people of France that came to this country after World War II.

State Dining Room

Chair Guests attending formal and informal dinners hosted by the Governor and First Lady dine at a Duncan-Phyfe Empire table in the State Dining Room, located to the right of the foyer. The collection of 24 Chippendale-style chairs features handmade needlepoint seats with 110,000 stitches in each. The ornamental seats were designed by Barbara Delle Gregory of Pine Bluff in 1972, and each displays a different chapter of Arkansas history.

Dinning Room Hanging above the table is a unique Louis XVI chandelier from France, which features a hand-blown bell in the center. This chandelier was not wired for electricity until it was acquired by the Mansion in the early 1970s by First Lady Betty Bumpers, wife of Governor Dale Bumpers (our 38th Governor).

Dinning Room A Chippendale-style cabinet also was acquired by Mrs. Bumpers and houses part of the impressive 62-piece silver set purchased by the people of Arkansas and given to the Battleship U.S.S. Arkansas in 1919. The silver was returned to the State after the battleship was decommissioned in 1946.

The Heppelwhite sideboard, also located in the State Dining Room, is one of the finest pieces of antique furniture to be found in the Mansion. On this sideboard sit some of the larger pieces of the U.S.S. Arkansas's silver collection, including the large silver punch bowl, which, according to legend, was made from the melted silver of 3,000 silver dollars donated by Arkansas school children.

Governor Rockefeller and his wife, Jeanette Edris Rockefeller, also donated the exquisite Persian rug in this room when he left office in 1970. Like the rug in the living room, it, too, is considered a treasurer of the State.

State Dining Room China

State Dinning China This is the official china used in the State Dining Room of the Governor's Mansion. It was originally purchased by the State when the Mansion was opened in 1950. First Lady Anne McMath selected the pattern. The specially commissioned design, using their "Springfield" pattern, is by the Lenox China Company. Its background is a creamy ecru and soft candlelight white with outer and inner gold rims. The seal of the State of Arkansas is embossed in gold at the top of each piece.

Pictured here on the left side are the creamed-soup bowl with saucer (bottom) and fruit/dessert bowl with saucer (top); in the center are the bread/butter plate, charger, and rimmed soup bowl; at top are the salad/dessert plate (left) and dinner plate (right); and at right are the demitasse coffee cup and saucer, morning coffee cup and saucer, and dinner coffee cup and saucer.

All silverware shown is the Melrose pattern by Gorham.

The formal crystal pictured here consists of the La Maison water goblet (Millefleurs pattern), Waterford red wine hock, and white wine goblet (Lismore pattern).

The white cotton place mat and napkin both are embossed with the State Seal.

Library

The Library is the setting for the Governor's meetings with legislators, as well as business and community leaders. Its bookshelves contain a special collection of books that were given to Governor and Mrs. Clinton during the 12 years they lived at the Mansion. These books were written by Arkansas authors or contain Arkansas subject matter.

Library Library

Also in this room are a large round conference table and eight chairs donated to the Mansion when David Pryor was serving as our 39th Governor. Several works of art by Arkansas artists and historic photos of the Mansion property are also featured here.

The paint color in this room (cottage red), as well as in the state dining room and the living room, were selected as being representative of colors typically found in Georgian homes of the period.

Grand Foyer

Foyer The Grand Foyer serves as the formal entry to the Mansion. The floor is laid in granite tile donated by Arkansas's Batesville Marble Company. The beautiful 18th-century chandelier from Paris, France, an original furnishing of the Mansion, illuminates the unusual three-story sweeping staircase. A wooden banister made of native walnut with an embossed state seal was installed when Chelsea Clinton was a youngster growing up in the Mansion.

On the wall leading upstairs is a portrait of Governor Sid McMath. He was the first governor to live with his family in the newly constructed Executive Residence beginning in January, 1950.

Welcoming guest as they come in the oversized front door is a round rug featuring the seal of the State of Arkansas in the center.

Atrium

Originally the back of the Mansion, this area is now enclosed in glass to form an atrium. Because the Mansion is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, this area preserves the original back side of the Mansion and connects the old Mansion to the new Grand Hall, built in 2003. It also provides sweeping views of the gardens and lawns. The atrium is often used for receptions and small luncheons and is accented with Arkansas artwork on the surrounding walls.

Atrium Atrium

Lower Atrium

Lower Atrium The Lower Atrium is the Mansion's own art gallery. Works by local artists and artisans are on loan from various artists and the Central Arkansas Library System. Oil paintings, watercolors, glass, pottery, and sculptures in wood are among the pieces in the collection.

There is also featured here a collection of photographs of the official portraits of the Governors of Arkansas who have lived in the Mansion since 1950.

The lower atrium is often the setting for small receptions, silent auctions, and casual luncheons.

Grand Hall

Grand Hall Grand Hall The Grand Hall, a 220-seat ballroom, was completed in the spring of 2003 and is often the site of formal dinners and receptions. The carpet runner covering the Grand Hall staircase contains various woven symbols of the State, such as the mockingbird (official state bird) and the names of all eleven Arkansas Governors who have lived in the Mansion.

A wooden seal of the State of Arkansas inlaid in the floor is one of the focal points of the Hall. The design was laser-cut and fashioned from the woods of fifteen trees native to Arkansas.

State Seal

Grand Hall There is a stage at the front of the Grand Hall for speakers or performers. The Grand Hall also includes a state-of-the-art media system and grand piano.

Showcasing the center of the room is the "Arkansas Chandelier." Added in 2009, the six-foot wide by 8-foot long fixture illuminates the room with 25 lights that symbolize Arkansas as the 25th state admitted to the Union in 1836. The chandelier also contains native rock crystal mined in Garland County, Arkansas; beaded crystal apple blossoms (the state flower) and a beaded crystal honey bee (the state insect); a diamond-shaped crystal prism symbolic of Arkansas as the only diamond-producing state in North America; bronze pine cones (from the state tree); 25 silver-and-gold-leaf stars; and other sparkling decorations that add to its colorful glowing beauty.

Arkansas Chandalier Arkansas Chandalier Arkansas Chandalier

Grand Hall China

Grand Hall China This is the official state china used for various functions in the Grand Hall of the Governor's Mansion. Specially designed by the Lenox China Company, this china was commissioned for use after the Grand Hall was opened for events in February of 2003, during the Huckabee Administration. Individuals, companies, and corporations purchased 350 place settings of the china through the Governor's Mansion Association.

On the top row pictured here are a soup bowl, dessert plate, and salad plate; on the bottom row are a bread plate, dinner plate, coffee cup, and saucer.

The china was designed with appropriate symbols of the State. Around the gold and royal-blue rims of each piece are 25 diamonds in recognition of Arkansas as the 25th state admitted to the Union in 1836 and the only state in North America having a working diamond mine. Inside the rims there are 75 gold barrels representing the 75 counties of Arkansas, and then a ring of gold apple blossoms, the official state flower. In the center of the soup bowls, salad plates, bread plates, and dinner plates, one finds the official seal of the State of Arkansas. The seal is also on the side of the coffee cup. In the center of the dessert plate is a cluster of apple blossoms.

Welcome to the Garden Tour

Garden The Governor's Mansion sits on eight-and-one-half acres complemented by various gardens. Extensive new landscaping and gardens, designed by world-renowned Arkansas landscape designer, P. Allen Smith, were begun in December of 2006. This recently completed project offers visitors a sweeping vista of botanical beauty that invites everyone to take a leisurely stroll along chat paths or to enjoy quiet reflection around the fountain directly behind the Grand Hall.

Entrance Garden

As the welcoming view of the Governor's Mansion, the front-entry gardens are designed to highlight and showcase the handsome Georgian Colonial home. A formal, circular fountain is the centerpiece of the oval Entrance Garden, framed by boxwood hedging in a Greek-key design with large flower beds on either side for seasonal color. Connecting the north-entry gate to the front door of the Mansion is a brick pathway that runs down the center of this garden and on either side of the fountain.

Mansion Entry President Clinton Bust

Of special note is the bronze bust of President Bill Clinton just to the right of the front gate. Surrounded by azaleas and dogwoods, the bust, by local sculptor Jan Woods, honors the former President who, along with his wife Hillary and daughter Chelsea, called the Mansion home for 12 years.

Rose Garden

Along the western fence row is the Rose Garden. Several varieties of antique roses, as well as beds of seasonal plants, shrubs, and flowers, provide color during the growing season. The beds are highlighted by a row of large trellises, which can be viewed by walking along an easily-accessible chat path.

Rose Garden

Parterre Garden

Parterre Garden The Parterre Garden directly behind the Grand Hall features a round fountain with surrounding pathways arranged in a diamond pattern, symbolizing that Arkansas is the only diamond-producing state in North America. The entire garden is ringed by a hedge of holly trees for year-round greenery and privacy.

Framing the formal Parterre Garden are long, white-columned pergolas covered with wisteria vines and New Dawn roses for springtime color. A pathway adjacent to the west pergola leads to an expanse of grassy lawn that can be used for garden entertaining. This lawn area, too, is surrounded by holly-tree hedging, giving the area a more formal appearance.

Herb Garden

Herb Garden The Mansion Herb Garden - or herbary - is the oldest permanent garden on the property. It is located just west of the Parterre Garden and is connected by a pathway. It is a project of the Arkansas Unit of the Herb Society of America, whose members provide the planning, planting, weeding, and care of this impressive and unique garden.

Originally conceived and championed by former First Lady Betty Bumpers, the first herbary was built in 1978. It was designed by Little Rock landscape architect Cinde Bauer Drilling. It was upgraded in 1984 and enhanced again in 1993 and 1998 with red-brick, raised beds and additional walkways. Tourists may browse through and learn about the various herbs that can be grown in Arkansas. The Mansion culinary staff also gathers herbs used in cooking and for table decorations.

Vegetable Garden

Vegetable Garden The Mansion Vegetable Garden sits at the southeastern corner of the property on a small rise overlooking the Parterre Garden and Family Garden. It is surrounded by a distinctive picket fence that replicates the original picket fence of Rosewood, the house and grounds that graced this site in the early 1800's when it was the home of Territorial Governor William S. Fulton, who later became the first U.S. Senator of the new State.

The garden contains five large, raised beds and two regular beds planted with a variety of typical Southern-garden produce. Much of the produce from the garden is harvested in the summer and used by the Mansion's culinary staff.

A greenhouse and tool shed, as well as composting bins and soil storage, can be found beside this garden, encircled by flowering crabapple, holly, espalier, and magnolia trees.

Another special feature of this garden area is the "Mini-Mansion," a small replica of the Governor's Mansion that serves as a doll house/playhouse for visiting children. It provides a unique center of interest for the garden and surrounding grounds.

Family Garden

Family Garden The Family Garden is located east of the Grand Hall. Chat paths lead from the Grand Hall to this garden and also serve to connect the Hall to the Mansion's security building. On either side of the connecting pathways is a large expanse of open lawn, planted with hydrangeas and azaleas. Two urns hold plantings that provide seasonal color. The entire garden is surrounded by holly hedges for year-round greenery and privacy.

Next to this garden, the land slopes up gently to the east colonnade connecting the Mansion to the Governor's office. The slope features contoured landscaping and a lawn with mass plantings of lovely azaleas and graceful hydrangeas.

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