Perspective on the future of the U.S. Marshals Museum

Amy Sherrill covers the Marshals Museum for the Times Record — the hometown newspaper. Great print journalists remember their stories aren’t just for immediate public consumption and conversation — they’re tasked with chronicling the living history of a project of this magnitude. Heck, where do you think researchers get a lot of information about historic events? How do we learn about colorful characters who’ve carried badges throughout the history of the U.S. Marshals Service?

Newspaper accounts are extremely valuable resources.

Someday, researchers will record a history of the U.S. Marshals Museum. Amy’s work — along with official documents and papers from the museum office and the office of the historian for the U.S. Marshals Service — will help some historian (who may not even be born yet) understand how much love and commitment so many people put into this project. They’ll study the past four years of newspaper accounts — features, hard news stories, and editorials in the Times Record, Democrat Gazette, and most assuredly, Entertainment Fort Smith.

Amy captured some of my favorite quotes from Thursday’s big check presentation.

The U.S. Marshals Service looks forward to an enduring partnership and the opportunities the museum will present for the country, Arkansas and the Marshals Service
Beckwith, who is originally from Michigan, said that going to Fort Smith, in many respects, is like going back 20 years to the way a lot of other places in this country used to be — a way they have now lost.
“This is real America to me,” Beckwith said. “And it’s a very humbling experience and feeling to know that the majority of those people in that room are not in the marshals service or ever have been, although some have distant relatives (who were).”

The most personally gratifying quote came from Beckwith. We used Bon Jovi’s This is the Story of My Life as a closing video during our 2 hour presentation at USMS Headquarters in Washington, D.C. Hundreds of people — no, THOUSANDS — holding up signs, shouting BRING IT HOME! As Bon Jovi sang:

Yesterday’s a memory,
Another page of history,
You sell yourself on hopes and dreams
That leaves you feeling sideways.
Tripping over my own feet,
Trying to walk to my own beat,
Another car out on the street trying to find the Highway
Yeah, Are you going my way?

This is the story of my life
And I write it everyday.
I know it isn’t black and white
And it’s anything but grey.
I know that no I’m not alright, but I feel ok cos
Anything can, everything can happen
That’s the story of my life

Complete lyrics here

So Beckwith’s mention of John Bon Jovi made me smile:

Marshals Service Deputy Director Brian R. Beckwith, who traveled to Fort Smith for the announcement, said he had heard so much about Fort Smith from Marshals Service Director John F. Clark that when the opportunity presented itself to go to Fort Smith, he took it.

“He (Clark) said, ‘They treated me like rock star while I was down there.’ So, I affectionately am now calling him John “Bon Jovi” Clark, the director.”

See? The SUITS get Bon Jovi!

Not all newspapers end up in the bottom of a bird cage. 😉

Times Record

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