Unique interpretive features and artistic elements integrated throughout the building and site speak to the convergence of two distinct and dramatic stories - the lives of Middle Mississippian era peoples and the 1811 New Madrid Earthquake - that are at the core of history of Marston and the Bootheel region. Visitors are welcomed by monumental sculptural icons based on Clovis point arrowheads from the Middle Mississippian culture.
Picnic shelters recall the simple structures of early residents' frame and mud-daubed dwellings. Lighted columns based on the timber or stockade walls flank the rectangle of the Great Lawn. Interpretation of the New Madrid Earthquake begins as a colonnade that frames the entrance plaza of the facility with lighted sculptural columns representing the Richter scale. Limestone benches appear to be split in two pieces by the earthquake. Carved and modeled reliefs based on Gorgets, carved shell ornaments, are inset into the exterior walls of the building and are flanked by metal railings with medallions of similar patterns. Terra cotta Echo-Blocks ® of Middle Mississippian patterns, artifacts and effigies wrap the building in a continuous upper and lower integrated ornamental band. A map illustrating the devastating effects of the New Madrid Earthquake of 1811 greets the public as a floor mural in the foyer. Interior benches mark the exact times and severity of the quakes. A custom carved and modeled ceramic tile mural interprets the sun pattern found on many examples of Middle Mississippian pottery. It covers the rest room entry wall to create an atmosphere that recalls an archeological excavation, complete with 12 by 12 grid work and shards of pottery. The interior walls transform the tourism area into a museum experience and multi-purpose space. Moveable glass cases exhibit recreated pieces of Mississippian pottery.