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FORT SMITH, Ark. (AP) â€” A fall 2016 opening is planned for the $50 million U.S. Marshals Museum on the banks of the Arkansas River in Fort Smith, organizers announced Tuesday.
The museum's board of directors said the groundbreaking for the museum will be held Sept. 24, 2014. The Southwest Times Record reported Wednesday that the groundbreaking will coincide with the release of a commemorative coin marking the 225th anniversary of the Marshals Service.
Officials say they've raised $11.7 million so far for the museum, and expect to receive another $4 million to $5 million from sales of the commemorative coin.
The museum is to honor the U.S. marshals who were based in Fort Smith and patrolled the Indian territory that is now Oklahoma. It will be located along the Arkansas River with an eight-story tall arm facing west toward Oklahoma.
Organizers plan a year's worth of events in advance of the 2014 groundbreaking. This fall, the museum will dedicate the cornerstone for its Hall of Honor, which commemorates U.S. marshals and deputy marshals who died in the line of duty, officials said. The museum also plans a Descendant's Day event that includes a trip to Tahlequah, Okla., to explore the marshals' relationship to the Cherokee Nation.
Also Tuesday, the board announced members of the museum's National Leadership Council. Members include: Gov. Mike Beebe; former Gov. Mike Huckabee; Asa Hutchinson; former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating; U.S Marshals Service Association President Louie McKinney; and former U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese.