FORT SMITH, Ark. – Thinkwell Group (A TAIT Company), a leading design and production agency creating immersive, content-driven experiences for brands and companies around the world, celebrates the opening of The U.S. Marshals Museum (USMM) in Fort Smith, Arkansas, a highly interactive and engaging museum experience that tells the story of the Marshals. Thinkwell was responsible for the design, production, and delivery of the entire guest experience throughout the museum, including all media production, interactives, and technology integration.
The USMM tells the full story of the nation’s oldest law enforcement agency, which dates back to the ratification of the U.S. Constitution. The museum is located on the historic banks of the Arkansas River where legendary deputy Marshals such as Bass Reeves and the Three Guardsmen once crossed from the Federal court in Fort Smith into the western territories, bringing law and justice to the frontier.
“The story of the U.S. Marshals is the story of America–of struggling to live up to the ‘glorious promise’ of the Constitution,” says Cynthia Sharpe, Senior Principal at Thinkwell and Executive Creative Director on the project. “We had to create a space in which guests could engage with some really challenging moments in the nation’s history, but also balance it with the fun and larger-than-life stories of the U.S. Marshals Service.”
Six immersive exhibit zones populate the 53,000 square foot (4926 sq./m) star-shaped building, which is inspired by the shape of the U.S. Marshals badge. These six zones showcase the Marshals’ vital work in upholding the rule of law, driven by justice, integrity and service. The central hub of the museum features a flickering campfire scene where four Marshals from different eras retell key milestones of the U.S. Marshals’ history.
Other exhibit highlights include a recreation of an old west frontier town featuring a historically accurate U.S. Marshal’s office and saloon where guests learn the story of the first U.S. Marshals appointed by President Washington as they turn the pages of “The First Lawmen” interactive book. Inside the saloon, guests have the opportunity to play the interactive “Icons of the Old West” card game as well as engage with the friendly bartender. When learning about the work and training of the agency today, guests participate in the “To Carry a Badge” interactive fugitive chase simulation, which is inspired by real training technologies used by the Marshals and other U.S. law enforcement agencies.
“It’s the attention to detail that sets The U.S. Marshals Museum apart,” said Chuck Roberts, senior art director at Thinkwell. “It paints a vivid, living picture of the oft-unknown history of the Marshals. To bring a story like this to life with the latest design thinking and an innovative approach to the media and digital interactives has been a special achievement for our global teams, and we are thrilled to now share this work with the public.”
The USMM officially opened to the public on Saturday, July 1, 2023. For more information, please visit usmmuseum.org.
About the United States Marshals Museum
The United States Marshals Museum is a national Museum located on the riverfront in Fort Smith, AR. The U.S. Marshals Museum tells the story of our nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency from its establishment by President George Washington through current day. The Museum honors the sacrifice of Marshals killed in the line of duty, as well as those who continue to place their lives in harm’s way, as they enforce the Constitution. For more information, visit usmmuseum.org.
About Thinkwell (A TAIT Company)
Thinkwell is a global experience design and production agency with studios and offices in Los Angeles, Montréal, and Abu Dhabi. For more than 20 years, the multi-disciplinary team has created compelling experiences for a wide range of clients and brands around the world. Thinkwell’s creative, collaborative team brings extensive experience in the strategy, planning, design, and production of theme parks, destination resorts, major branded and intellectual property attractions, events & spectaculars, museums & exhibits, expos, and live shows. The award-winning company has become a leader in experiential design by bringing a unique holistic approach to every engagement. Thinkwell was acquired by the TAIT Group in March 2022. For more information, visit www.thinkwellgroup.com.