The Melanie Holt Speer Foundation donated $200,000 to the U.S. Marshals Museum in Fort Smith.
“I will try to help them raise money to get the thing off the ground,” said Margaret Speer Carter.
Carter made the gift in honor of her late parents. “I think my parents both would have been very enthusiastic about it. I really do,” she said.
Carter’s family owned Speer Hardware Company Co. in downtown Fort Smith for more than 100 years. The U.S. Marshals Museum will also sit downtown.
“I think this is a good, a good different and new thing that people will be interested in coming to,” said Carter.
Museum officials say Carter’s donation will go towards construction costs.
“Every gift is important of course, but $200,000 is a very nice sized gift,” said Jessica Hayes, Vice President of Operations.
Hays says they have already raised $10 million for the museum. The goal is $50 million. “The more donations of this size that we get the quicker we can break ground and the quicker we can open,” she said.
Carter looks forward to seeing the museum once it is built. “I just think it’s sort of an honor to have them here,” she said.
Hays told 5NEWS they have not set an opening date for the museum yet. “We’ve been moving at the pace of our donors,” she said. “It’s a long road. It’s a long process, but it takes a while to create a museum of this magnitude.”
The U.S. Marshals Museum will sit next to Riverfront Park in downtown Fort Smith.