NWA Democrat-Gazette/ANDY SHUPE
Angie Albright (right), director of the Clinton House Museum, and designer Lisa Netherland speak Friday, June 9, 2017, in the garden in front of the museum in Fayetteville. A fundraiser is planned for June 29 to renovate The First Ladies Garden which features the favorite flowers of each First Lady.
Clinton House Museum throws party to plant seed with public
Horticulture and Clinton enthusiasts, take note: The Clinton House Museum in Fayetteville is hosting a garden party, called Bloom, to raise funds for its First Ladies Garden from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on June 29. Tickets are $25 and include dinner and live music. All proceeds will go toward the upkeep and expansion of the garden.
“Our garden needs work,” notes Clinton House Museum Director Angie Albright. “Mother Nature is pretty hard on gardens. We always want our gardens to feel like an extension on the exhibits that we have inside.”
Created in 2010, the First Ladies Garden, says original designer DK Design, was designed “to establish the feeling of an ‘outdoor room’ with a sense of intimacy and privacy that would link the garden to the rest of the museum and allow visitors to enjoy the garden with minimal distractions.’” Visitors can exit the back door of the small house President Bill and Hillary Clinton lived in when they were first married and walk up three stone steps to enter the cozy space, which was influenced by the English Tudor architecture of the house itself. Though established in honor of Hillary Clinton, Albright says the inclusion of favorite flowers of all of the first ladies was an effort to expand the museum’s offerings to the public.
“One of the things we do is come up with events and exhibits that are appropriate to the mission of this place,” says Albright. “But we also want to make sure that the local community can come and enjoy what we have here. Hopefully, they will begin to see the museum as a community space. That’s really common for small museums across the country. They’re learning how to make their space integral to the community landscape.”
Research was paramount in launching the project. Joyce Mendenhall, a member of the Board of the Botanical Garden of the Ozarks, worked with Gail Pianalto to track down a favorite flower for each First Lady. It wasn’t always easy, Mendenhall says.