A $5 million anonymous gift could be the incentive needed for the United States Marshals Museum to tell the complete story of the U.S. Marshals Service.
The museum announced Thursday (July 22) it had received an anonymous $5-million matching gift, bringing it one step closer to reaching its final capital campaign goal of $12.5 million. To date, the Museum – located near the Arkansas River in downtown Fort Smith – has raised nearly $38.8 million for the USMM building, campus, and Hall of Honor.
There remains $12.5 million to raise to complete the museum. Of that $12.5 million, the Marshals Museum is focusing on $8 million, which will allow the experience inside the Museum (galleries, interactives and exhibits) to be built, museum officials said. Earlier this year, the museum hired Bentz Whaley Flessner (BWF) as campaign consultants to help reach the fundraising goal.
“This pledge is the impetus we need to reach our capital campaign goal,” said Doug Babb, board chair of the United States Marshals Museum. “With this generous gift, we will soon move forward with plans to create an educational and immersive experience for our guests.”
If the museum matches the funds needed for the grant, it will secure close to the total funds needed for the capital campaign and surpass the $8 million needed to build out its galleries and provide visitors with a transformative storytelling experience, a news release said.
“The finish line is in sight,” said Laurice Hachem, board chair of the United States Marshals Museum Foundation, “These funds will allow us to fully share the deep and rich story of the U.S. Marshals Service.”
Located along the banks of the Arkansas River in downtown Fort Smith, the facility’s star-shaped design represents the badge worn by United States marshals. Once complete, guests will have the opportunity to tour the building’s five immersive galleries to learn about the critical, ever-evolving role of the U.S. Marshals Service. They will also have the opportunity to pay tribute to the more than 350 marshals killed in the line of duty in the Samuel M. Sicard Hall of Honor and gain a stronger understanding of the Constitution, the rule of law and civic literacy in the National Learning Center.
Organizers hope to hold a soft opening in summer 2022. Construction of the approximately 53,000 square feet U.S. Marshals Museum was completed – except for exhibits – in early 2020 with museum staff moving its offices to the new facility shortly after construction was completed.
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 on a site near the Arkansas River in downtown Fort Smith, and museum officials initially hoped to have the facility open by late 2017.