US Marshals Museum Announces $1M Donation

US Marshals Museum Announces $1M Donation
The design of the planned U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith is intended to evoke the image of a marshal’s badge stuck in the ground, inspired by the ending of “High Noon.”

The U.S. Marshals Museum said Tuesday that it will receive a $1 million contribution from Donnie Pendergraft and family in honor of her late husband Ross Pendergraft.

The contribution will be used to build the Ross Pendergraft What We Stand For: "Why Marshals?" Theater, a permanent exhibit in the future museum's Marshals Today gallery.        

"Words cannot express our gratitude for the Pendergraft family and their generous support of the U.S. Marshals Museum," Jim Dunn, president and CEO of the U.S. Marshals Museum, said in a news release.

The "Why Marshals?" Theater will serve as an orientation to the U.S. Marshals Service; the formal, enclosed theater will share the motto of "Justice, Integrity and Service" by highlighting the history of the agency and its connection to Fort Smith.

The eight-to-12-minute show will play on three large screens, providing a visually complex and unique cinematic experience, organizers said.

"We commend the entire Fort Smith community for their enthusiasm and support of the U.S. Marshals Museum," said Neal Pendergraft, son of Donnie Pendergraft. "We know this project would be so important to Ross. We hope our gift will encourage others to contribute and make this museum a reality."

In September 2014, the museum received a $5 million pledge and broke ground that month. 

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, Massachusetts.