The U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation in Fort Smith recently met a $500,000 matching grant challenge offered in April and now has over $1 million to go toward the museum’s exhibit space.
The half-million-plus raised to meet the $500,000 anonymous matching grant came from local, regional and national donors, U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation President Alice Alt said Thursday.
"We are incredibly close to being able to push go on buying the exhibits," Alt added. "We have $12.8 million left to go in the capital campaign and we are laser focused on $8 million of to take that step."
The $4.8 million of the $12.8 million in the capital campaign is funds to be reserved as surplus for operations and any needed adjustments, as well as furniture.
At least $100,000 of the matching grant has been raised since late August. In the coming weeks, the museum will begin a End of Year Giving campaign. Alt said the foundation is shooting for a "soft grand opening" in 2021 and to have the museum fully operational in 2022.
In March 2019, Fort Smith voters rejected a temporary 1% sales tax to raise the then-$17 million requested to complete the capital campaign for the museum’s exhibits and other anticipated needs. The U.S. Marshals Museum, despite construction delays in 2019 due to historic flooding, remains a top project for Fort Smith and the region.
More than 500 gathered at the mostly finished museum in September 2019 to take part in a dedication. It was noted then by U.S. Marshals Service Director Donald W. Washington that the families of their fallen now have a place to honor the men and women who have served the federal agency over the past 230 years.
U.S. Marshals Museum President Patrick Weeks points out the exhibits will now likely contain information about the U.S. Marshals’ response to the civil unrest in the summer of 2020.