Coughlin joins U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation board

by Michael Tilley ([email protected]) 2,517 views 

Cynthia Coughlin of Bentonville has been appointed to the U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation Board of Directors, bringing the board number to 20. After many years of delays, the Fort Smith museum is set to open by mid-2023.

Born in New York City and raised in the San Francisco Bay area, Coughlin moved to Northwest Arkansas in 1978. She was married to Tom Coughlin, former vice chairman of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., who died in 2016. Walmart founder Sam Walton recruited Coughlin in 1978 while he was at Ohio-based supermarket and discount department store chain company Cook United.

Since 1984, Cynthia has operated Coughlin’s Ranch, a cattle-breeding operation specializing in registered Black Angus in Centerton.

“Cynthia’s commitment to community service aligns perfectly with the current Foundation Board,” Laurice Hachem, USMM Foundation board chair, said in a statement. “As a longtime-area resident, her ability to share the Museum’s progress with her network of contacts will be invaluable.”

Coughlin’s community service initiatives have included serving as the chairman of the Board of both the Bentonville-Bella Vista Boys & Girls Club and the Walton Arts Center, as well as maintaining board member seats with the Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks, the Washington Regional Medical Foundation, Circle of Life Hospice, and serving on the Bentonville School Board. She was an Advisory Board Member of the Symphony of North Arkansas, as former president of the Bentonville Garden Club, and as a National Board Member of Rebuilding Together. Coughlin maintains board seats on the Police Athletic League, the NWA Tactical Operations Group, and the Law Enforcement Assistance Program.

She is the recipient of the Freedom Corp Award from President George W. Bush for her work with the Boys & Girls Club, and has also received the Louise Thadden Business Woman of the Year, and the Rabbitt Dickerson Awards from the Bentonville Chamber of Commerce.

Cynthia Coughlin

“My family has a law enforcement background. Like right now, I’m on three law enforcement boards. … But I think [the museum] was probably just a natural fit for Fort Smith, and I think it’s just going to be fabulous for Arkansas,” Coughlin told Talk Business & Politics when asked why she agreed to join the board.

She also said she has been impressed with the planned exhibits, noting they will be “very interactive and showcase the history and the future of [the service].” Coughlin said she looks forward to learning more about how she can contribute to the museum’s success but already has a few ideas.

“I’m very pro marketing and communications, and I think I can expand the fundraising in Benton County and in Washington County,” she said, adding that it “is an honor” to join the board.

Construction of the approximately 53,000-square-foot U.S. Marshals Museum was completed — except for exhibits — in early 2020. The facility is on the Arkansas River near downtown Fort Smith. In January 2007, the U.S. Marshals Service selected Fort Smith as the site for the national museum. A ceremonial groundbreaking was held in September 2015, and museum officials initially hoped to have the facility open by late 2017.

Construction on museum exhibits and experiences began in October in the 20,000-square-feet exhibit space. According to museum officials, the exhibits should be completed and installed by March or April, and the museum should open to the public in the summer.

Link here for more info on the Foundation board and its membership.