Skip to content

Joe McCullough, Theme Fusion bring Gospel to Life…by design

    This article originally ran in the Cleveland Daily Banner on November 7, 2018

    The upcoming faith-based, interactive museum, Trek Thru Truth, has over 50 ideas for different exhibits. In order to bring these ideas to fruition, the museum needs an entire team of designers. That’s where people like Joe McCullough with Theme Fusion come in.

    Theme Fusion is a creative design company specializing in building theme park decor. This talent transitions exceptionally well to the inspirational images brought forth from the Bible. While the company typically works throughout the Southeast, it is also currently working on a project in Washington state.

    “A lot of times a client will ask us to amplify what’s best about their region,” McCullough said. “So, we’ll research their area and come up with a plan that’s cohesive to their customers.”

    Numerous capabilities are designed into Theme Fusion’s works. For example, the Washington dental office is set to contain various woodland creatures that kids can take pictures with, climb on and explore with. These options will be mirrored upon Trek thru Truth’s construction in a Biblical fashion.

    As a Cleveland native, McCullough said the opportunity to work with the Christian museum fits the faith-based Theme Fusion like a glove, and staffers are excited to stimulate all patrons’  senses with their interactive displays.

    “This isn’t just for kids, it’s also for families,” he added.

    Theme Fusion has been in business for 13 years, but originally, McCullough started out by designing displays for other companies that did the builds themselves. Through the recession, he saw many of these companies close their doors and realized he was having far too much fun to stop doing what he enjoyed. As designers first and foremost, he says Theme Fusion’s first task is getting exactly what customers want, and how they want it.

    Within the next few weeks, he is expecting the company to receive robotic automation technology to help them be more efficient in construction tasks.

    As Trek thru Truth hopes for a groundbreaking potentially as early as late 2019, McCullough and his staff have already created approximately 52 different interactive displays for the museum, each focusing on a different person from the Bible.

    “The fun thing about our business is that there are not enough people in the industry to make it feel like we’re all competing against one another. If my co-worker, Jonathan Martin, is doing a great job with his design company, we’re happy to hear it,” McCullough said.

    One of the key goals for Theme Fusion is for guests who go through the upcoming museum to not exit and think, “That was that,” and never come back. McCullough explains how they are using what they coined the “Shrek model,” based on the line from the movie “Shrek” about ogres having layers like onions. When you peel back the environment, you’ll experience one aspect of the museum, but upon returning, you may notice some things you didn’t the last time, and have a totally different experience.

    An example of the various sensory triggers used in the museum is how they plan to include real water in scenes that reference it, such as the parting of the Red Sea. Following this sensory trigger, kids will exit the Red Sea and be greeted by a giant Lego statue of Moses, with Lego containers beneath him for children to build their own creations.

    While many of the Bible stories have been heard several times before, the design of the experience will ensure that each time you go through the exhibits, you’ll experience something unique.

    “We want people to think, “Whoa! I didn’t see that the last time I came through,’” McCullough said. “We want to see Trek thru Truth come through to fruition, because we were interested from the day we heard about it.”

    McCullough explained how the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce and even city planners are excited about the upcoming museum, which he believes could be a landmark for Cleveland. Although there are several different Bible museums, he hopes to use his company’s creative innovations to make Trek thru Truth stand out.

    Another factor that makes the museum unique is how it is set to cater to the varying amounts of time guests have on their hands. In today’s society, time is precious, and McCullough explained how people who may have two hours to spend will be directed to see exhibits in a certain order to get the best experience out of their time, while others with more time to spend may be directed to more of an all-encompassing experience.

    “If you only have time for a few exhibits, you need to see Moses, Joshua, etc.” McCullough said. “If you have a whole day, go through the museum in a particular order. It’ll be completely customizable.”

    While it isn’t a church, Trek thru Truth goes by the common church phrase, “Come as you are, don’t leave as you were,” as its planners hope to elicit a change in guests’ lives through the Gospel in its exhibits.

    Theme Fusion is located at 161 Thurman Lane N.W., Cleveland TN 37312 and can be reached at 423-303-2664, through its Facebook, its website or through email at