Support the United States Marshals Museum and #BringItToLife with us!
How incredible! Thanks to recent donations amounting to $295,000, our new immediate goal is now $1.7 million toward our greater goal of $15 million! Thank you to all who have donated to #BringIttoLife and thank you to those considering a donation that fits your giving levels! The United States Marshals Museum is grateful for you!
The Museum experience will consist of five immersive galleries: To Be a Marshal, The Campfire: Stories Under the Stars, Frontier Marshals, A Changing Nation, and Modern Marshals. There will also be a National Learning Center, a Hall of Honor, retail space, and a cafe. The experience will be transformative, moving, and engaging, grounded in story and emotion. The galleries will show what it means to be a Marshal, what their duties are today, and how those duties have evolved. There will be stories and lore about the colonial days, the Old West, the Civil Rights Movement, and the modern Marshals. In addition, the Five Civilized Tribes (FCT) of Oklahoma will erect a monument honoring tribal law enforcement on the United States Marshals Museum's (USMM) campus.
Background - In 2007, the USMS selected Fort Smith, Arkansas as the site for the USMM. In a successful effort to secure Fort Smith as the future home for the USMM, the community rallied together to launch the "Bring it Home" campaign.
The Mission of the USMM is to form a national center of heritage and legacy, disseminate knowledge, and inspire appreciation for the accomplishments of the USMS. The USMM will pay homage to the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency when complete. Inspiring appreciation for the accomplishments of the USMS, the USMM will educate all on the Rule of Law and civic literacy through the actions of the USMS as they have enforced the U.S. Constitution throughout their almost 230-year history. The future home of the USMM, named for Mary Carleton and Robert A. Young III, will be a 53,000-square-foot state-of-the-art building overlooking the Arkansas River just north of downtown Fort Smith. This facility, located on 16 acres of land, will include 20,000 square feet of storytelling through the use of over 1,000 artifacts, objects, graphics and technology-driven interactives.
To Be a Marshal In the first gallery, you will be led to understand the role of a Marshal, how the agency was founded, its principles and duties, and a broad overview of its history. You’ll explore a high-level timeline of the history of the Marshals, beginning with the inception of their role in the Judiciary Act of 1789 and continuing to the vital work of the Service today. Set into the timeline, a series of interactive exhibits will uncover the different types of work for which the U.S. Marshals are responsible, from supporting the courts to protecting witnesses, and from tracking down fugitives to managing operations for disaster relief. The Campfire: Stories Under the StarsPositioned as a central hub in the Museum, the Campfire will provide the stage and setting where storied moments of Marshal history will be presented.
On an elevated dais at the center of the room, a group of four figures from different eras sit around a flickering campfire. Shadowy images shift and play across the walls of the space, as storied moments of marshal history flare briefly to life and then fade away in media, and voices float in with scraps and fragments of tales and memories of Marshals’ lives and achievements. You’ll want to pause and sit a while, listening and watching as the stories play out and the mood of the space changes. As you continue on your journey through the Museum, you will return to the Campfire area, discovering new stories each time you visit.
Frontier MarshalsIn the newly formed United States, the Marshals were truly the first lawmen. From those early colonial days, the Marshals’ role evolved into expanded responsibilities and challenges as they became the symbol of law and order in the western frontier and Indian Territory. Through a variety of exhibits depicting an Old West frontier town such as a saloon and a Marshal’s office, tales of Frontier Marshals will come to life, including some about Fort Smith’s iconic frontier figures. A particularly intriguing part of this gallery is the exhibit that tells the incredible story of Bass Reeves, a man who escaped slavery to later become a United States Marshal. Tactics that walked the line between guile and guts were used for survival by Frontier Marshals – just as they are used by U.S. Marshals today.
A Changing Nation As you leave the frontier, you’ll enter a more formal, pillar framed gallery themed with the idea that Marshals are bound by duty to uphold the Rule of Law, however ideologically distant they are from the Marshal’s own beliefs. A series of portals will lead to three rooms, each focused on a specific broad area of challenge within this duty. In the final portal, you’ll step into the Decision Theater in which you’ll journey into the ever-changing, complicated work of the Marshals Service. You’ll examine the role of the Marshals during the struggle for civil rights in America and their involvement in integration and the protection of justice for all. Scenes and exhibits will also acquaint you with how the Marshals have played a central role during turbulence such as Prohibition, violent white supremacists protestations, riots, bombings, and natural disasters.
Modern MarshalsIn this fascinating gallery, you’ll be immersed in the active, exciting, and expansive work Marshals do today. Exhibits here will showcase the tactics and technologies utilized by the Marshals in their tracking, apprehension, and extradition of fugitives in the U.S. and dangerous environments such as Iraq and Columbia. The names and faces of the 15 Most Wanted will be shown on a running display along the top edge of the room. At the core of this gallery you’ll hear “What We Stand For,” an inspiring explanation in the words of Marshals – present and past – speaking of why their work matters, what it has meant to them and others, and what the future holds for the Marshals organization and the nation they serve.