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Marshals Museum Gets $1M Gift From Walker Foundation

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The U.S. Marshals Museum Foundation, the fundraising arm of the museum opening this summer in Fort Smith, announced that it has received a $1 million pledge from The Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation Inc. of Fayetteville.

In honor of the contribution, the museum’s education hub will be named the Willard and Pat Walker National Learning Center. The center represents the museum’s commitment to become an educational partner with schools and communities, offering an in-depth encounter with not only U.S. marshals history, but also civic engagement and constitutional history, the foundation said in a news release

The learning complex includes two classrooms and the 1789 Room, a multi-purpose space that will host camps, school programs, teacher professional development programs, workshops, and more. The center includes a small library, featuring computers with subscriptions to sites such as www.ancestry.com and www.newspapers.com.

Willard Walker was an executive at Walmart when it went public, making a fortune as one of the company’s first shareholders. Over the years, he and his wife Pat gave millions to Arkansas organizations with charitable, religious, scientific, literary or educational goals. They started their nonprofit foundation in 1986.

Susan Neyman, chief development officer and foundation president, said the Walker Foundation’s gift will “guarantee our continued focus on education.”

The $50 million, 53,00-SF museum is scheduled to open July 1 after 16 years in development.

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