A new development officer and opening of the gift shop at the U.S. Marshals Museum (USMM) are some of the actions toward the long-awaited goal of opening the museum in summer 2023, said Ben Johnson, USMM president and CEO.
The museum announced Thursday (Nov. 10) that Susan Neyman will serve as the museum’s new chief development officer and president of the Museum Foundation.
“Throughout our national search, we were looking for a CDO with a proven track record of success in annual campaigns, major gifts, grants, capital projects, planned giving, stewardship and major events. Susan has over 20 years of accomplishment in raising funds in all of these areas,” Johnson said of the appointment.
USMM board chairman Doug Babb said Neyman has held executive leadership and senior fundraising positions during her career in the museum and non-profit fields including with the Walton Arts Center and University of Arkansas.
“Susan brings us the experience, expertise and positive Arkansas donor relationships we need to complete our capital campaign, begin an endowment and raise funds to support operations after we open,” Babb said. “With the addition of our new museum CEO, Ben Johnson, and now a CDO, we have the right leadership team in place to open the museum next summer.”
Johnson took over as the new president and CEO of the museum in August.
Neyman has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in business administration, as well as a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Arkansas.
“Joining the team and being able to work with the Directors of the USMM and USMM Foundation Boards, who have secured funding for and overseen the building of this world-class museum, is truly an honor. I am looking forward to helping complete the building campaign, opening the museum to the public, and establishing long-term funding that will honor the men and women of the U.S. Marshals Service for decades to come,” she said.
Construction of the approximately 53,000-square-feet U.S. Marshals Museum was completed — except for exhibits — in early 2020. The facility is on the Arkansas River near downtown Fort Smith. 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, and museum officials initially hoped to have the facility open by late 2017.
Construction on museum exhibits and experiences began in October in the 20,000-square-feet exhibit space, Johnson said. The exhibits are being built “all over the country,” Johnson said last month. Those exhibits should be completed and ready to be installed by March or April, and the museum should open to the public in the summer, he said.
“We are still on track. There is construction going on in the gallery today. They are making noise and getting things done,” Johnson said. “Things are just rocking and rolling. As long as there are no supply chain issues or geopolitical incidents in the country, we’ll be opening next summer.”
The museum announced Wednesday (Nov. 9) that the museum gift shop, The Outpost, was open and ready for business. The store offers unique t-shirts, hats, magnets, stickers, books, and other items celebrating the Museum and the U.S. Marshals Service.
“As the USMM continues construction of the exhibit experiences, opening to the public in Summer 2023, The Outpost is complete and open during limited hours. The Museum has recently added numerous one-of-a-kind items, a variety of books and other trinkets – and the inventory will continue to grow between now and next summer,” a news release said.
The museum store will be open 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or by appointment at the museum, 789 Riverfront Drive.