Coughlin commits $500,000 to U.S. Marshals Museum

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,217 views 

Cynthia Coughlin, a member of the U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation Board, has committed $500,000 to the recently opened U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith to support static and interactive exhibits in the “Modern Marshals” gallery of the museum.

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 Walmart 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, she has operated Coughlin’s Ranch, a cattle-breeding operation specializing in registered Black Angus in Centerton.

She is the recipient of the Freedom Corp Award from President George W. Bush for her work with the Boys & Girls Club. She has also received the Louise Thaden Businesswoman of the Year and the Rabbitt Dickerson Awards from the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce. Coughlin also holds board seats on the Police Athletic League, the NWA Tactical Operations Group, and the Law Enforcement Assistance Program.

“It is such a privilege to have this historically significant museum located in Arkansas,” said Coughlin, who joined the Foundation board in January. “I am delighted to make this donation to the U.S. Marshals Museum in recognition of the oldest law enforcement agency in the country.”

Pictured (from left) are Susan Neyman, U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation president and chief development officer, Cynthia Coughlin, and U.S. Marshals Museum President and CEO Benjamin Johnson.

According to the museum, funds from Coughlin’s donation will support interactive training simulators in the “What Does It Take To Be A U.S. Marshal” room of the museum.

In January 2007, the U.S. Marshals Service selected Fort Smith as the site for the national museum. The Robbie Westphal family, led by Bennie Westphal and Robin Westphal Clegg, donated the riverfront land for the museum.

A ceremonial groundbreaking was held in September 2015. Museum officials initially hoped to have the facility open by late 2017, but struggles to raise money delayed the opening. Construction of the approximately 53,000-square-foot U.S. Marshals Museum was completed — except for exhibits — in early 2020. With exhibits completed, the museum opened to the public on July 1, 2023.