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U.S. Marshals multi-media theater receives underwriting by the Ross Pendergraft family

U.S. Marshals multi-media theater receives underwriting by the Ross Pendergraft family
The multi-media theater is seen above in an architectural rendering, behind the statue of Blind Justice.

Why Marshals? multi-media theater receives
underwriting by the Ross Pendergraft family

A permanent exhibit for the U.S. Marshals Museum will be called the Why Marshals? Theater.

Inside, visitors will hear and see many aspects of the history and purpose of the federal law enforcement service’s role in America’s system of justice.

The theater is being underwritten by a gift from the family of the late Ross Pendergraft of Fort Smith, a Donrey Media executive and businessman. Pendergraft’s wife, Donnie, and their children and grandchildren have made this gift and other generous endowments locally, often to educational and public facilities.

“If Ross were around, we know this would be so important to him,” said his son Neal Pendergraft, speaking on behalf of the entire family. “My mother hopes, with this gift, to encourage others to contribute, as well.”

Pendergraft commended the hard work of museum supporters and said the efforts of the staff and the support of the whole community have advanced the museum project well past the tipping point.

“I firmly believe that and can’t wait to see it done,” he said.

Commemorative U.S. Marshals coins now available locally
U.S. Marshals Service 225th silver dollar commemorative coins can now be purchased in two area Walmart stores. The limited edition silver dollar coins will be available for $51.95 at the Walmart stores on Zero Street in Fort Smith and Liberty Drive in Greenwood.

The museum and Walmart announced the availability of the coins last month. A portion of the purchase price of the coin is designated to support the museum, which last year held groundbreaking ceremonies on the Fort Smith riverfront.

“We appreciate Walmart, and the entire Fort Smith community, for their continued support of the U.S. Marshals Museum,” said Jim Dunn, president and CEO of the museum. “We hope everyone will go out and purchase one of these beautiful silver dollar coins to honor the men and women of the U.S. Marshals Service and help bring this important project closer to the finish line.”

The silver dollar, produced by the United States Mint, highlights the role the U.S. Marshals Service played in the American West. The coin’s reverse side depicts a frontier U.S. Marshal holding a “Wanted in Fort Smith” poster. The obverse side depicts a U.S. Marshals Service star and the silhouettes of deputies on horseback pursuing a fugitive. Both images call to mind the grit of those who served here.

The future facility will be a national museum located here. Plans include permanent exhibit galleries, the Samuel M. Sicard Hall of Honor and a National Learning Center. The museum will tell the more than 225-year story of the U.S. Marshals Service, the country’s oldest law enforcement agency, and honor the sacrifice of marshals killed in the line of duty. For more information, visit usmarshalsmuseum.org.

This article appears in the September 2015 issue of Entertainment Fort Smith magazine.

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Entertainment Fort Smith Magazine, Online