Ground will be broken Wednesday in Fort Smith for the long-anticipated U.S. Marshals Museum. The Western Arkansas city was chosen out of a sixteen city national competition.
This groundbreaking ceremony coincides with the 225th anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service, an appropriate match considering Fort Smith is a venerated place in the Service’s history.
Jim Dunn is president and CEO of the museum. He said the decision was made by the US Marshals Service Director, John Clark.
“(Fort Smith)…because of its history in the last half of the nineteenth century and with more deputy U.S. Marshals killed in the line of duty out of the western district of Arkansas, Director Clark selected Fort Smith.”
Plans for the museum include three main galleries, theater space and a Hall of Honor for U.S. Marshals killed in the line of duty. But it’s the building’s abstract architecture that Dunn expects to draw crowds.
“The building design is not an 'old-west' design (and) it is not a Fort Smith design. The design is patterned after the star symbolizing the US Marshall Service. We hope that the Marshal Museum architecture will become an iconic symbol, not only of Fort Smith but of this region and the state,” Dunn said.
U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman and Governor Mike Beebe will be among the dignitaries present for the ceremony.
This groundbreaking marks the launch of the project’s first phase, dedicated to site preparation and design.
A recent anonymous pledge of 5 million dollars will contribute to the second “bricks-and-mortar” phase and the final installation phase plans to open museum doors by 2017.