Jim Dunn said Tuesday (Dec. 10) that the U.S. Marshals Museum leadership and staff have a lot to do in the next few months as they work to meet a Sept. 24 groundbreaking. The focus of that work will be on securing more than $25 million in donations for a museum expected to cost more than $50 million.
Dunn, president and CEO of the U.S. Marshals Museum, said part of that activity includes boosting national exposure of the museum effort and working with the U.S. Mint on a Marshals Service commemorative coin.
“We’ve got a lot to accomplish in the next six to nine months ... so stay tuned,” Dunn said during Tuesday’s meeting of the Marshals Museum Board of Directors.
Groundbreaking for the U.S. Marshals Museum, which will include 20,000 square feet of exhibition space and will be located on the riverfront in downtown Fort Smith, is set for Sept. 24, 2014, to coincide with the 225th anniversary of the creation of the service in 1789. The U.S. Marshals Service is the oldest American federal law enforcement agency and was established by President George Washington.
In January 2007, the U.S. Marshals Service selected Fort Smith as the site for the national museum. The cost to build the museum — including exhibit work — is estimated at around $53 million. Although the announcement was made in 2007, formal fundraising activities did not begin until the latter part of 2009.
A museum cornerstone ceremony was held Nov. 9, at which high-profile attendees included U.S. Marshals Service Director Stacie Hylton, the first female director of the service; Bill John Baker, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation; former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese; and Howard Safir, former associate director of the U.S. Marshals Service and the former commissioner of the New York Police Department.
Dunn said in mid-August that the museum effort needs between $10 million and $15 million more to reach the “threshold” of between $30 million and $35 million needed to break ground and begin construction. Dunn is also banking on new market tax credits for partial funding of the museum, which he said should bring in nearly $10 million.
Financials from the museum show $5.26 million in cash, cash equivalents and pledges. Riverfront land for the museum site, donated by the Robbie Westphal family, is valued at $1.868 million.
Between $4 million and $5 million could come from sales of a U.S. Marshals Service commemorative coin. The coin is scheduled to be minted in 2014 to coincide with the 225th anniversary of the establishment of the Marshals Service. Money from the coin that go to the museum are restricted to fund “the preservation, maintenance, and display of artifacts and documents” at the Marshals Museum. Revenue from coin sales will also go to the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association, the National Law Enforcement Museum, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Dunn said Tuesday that about 98% of all coin sales happen through marketing and efforts of the U.S. Mint. Generating the most revenue from coin sales will require the Marshals Museum aggressively pursuing the remaining 2%. He said recent meetings with U.S. Mint officials have been positive.
“The Mint stands ready to cooperate with us by any means possible,” Dunn said, adding that Jessica Hayes, vice president of museum operations, will work with the Mint on coin sales.
• The museum has secured the rifle used by German-born George Maledon who became the hangman for Judge Isaac Parker’s federal court. Dunn called the 1873 Winchester rifle a “prize artifact” for the museum, and thanked Board Member and Fort Smith businessman Rick Griffin for his help in securing the rifle.
• Former U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., has been appointed to the National Leadership Council for the Marshals Museum fundraising campaign.
• Museum finances received a “clean” audit report from accountants at Lawrence, Schluterman & Schwartz and from Beall Barclay & Co.
• The Museum Board of Directors approved a joint policy that prescribes how funds will be transferred and recorded between the U.S. Marshals Museum and the U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation.