The U.S. Marshals Museum, set to break ground Wednesday in Fort Smith, received a $5 million pledge from an anonymous donor, museum leaders said Thursday.
The donation is payable before the end of 2016.
"We’re overwhelmed with gratitude for this $5 million gift," Jim Dunn, president and CEO of the museum, said in a news release. "It represents the largest pledge we’ve received to date, and it provides us a great deal of momentum in our fundraising efforts."
Wednesday's groundbreaking will mark the first phase of the project, which includes architectural and exhibit design and site preparation, as well as the 225th anniversary of the Marshals service.
The $50 million, 20,000-SF museum, which will sit on the banks of the Arkansas River near downtown Fort Smith, was first proposed in 2008. The design for the museum is by Polk Stanley Wilcox Architects of Little Rock and Cambridge Seven Associates of Cambridge, Mass.
Earlier this year, the museum received a $100,000 grant from Lisenne Rockefeller, wife of the late Lt. Gov. Winthrop Paul Rockefeller, to fund a lecture series in his name. The three-year Winthrop Paul Rockefeller Distinguished Lecture Series will welcome leaders from the executive, judiciary and legislative parts of the U.S. government to speak about the marshals' history as it relates to each branch.