FORT SMITH — Officials with the U.S. Marshals Museum will break ground Wednesday on the estimated $50 million museum project in a ceremony that will be in commemoration of the 225th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Marshals Service.

FORT SMITH — Officials with the U.S. Marshals Museum will break ground Wednesday on the estimated $50 million museum project in a ceremony that will be in commemoration of the 225th anniversary of the creation of the U.S. Marshals Service.


"It’s exhilarating that we’re to the point we can do this," Board Chairman Jim Spears said of the event. "It’s an emotional high for us to do this. It’s going to be a time to emphasize what an impact the Marshals Service had on this area and what an impact this museum will have on this area."


The Sept. 24 date coincides with the formation of the U.S. Marshals Service, the oldest American federal law enforcement agency established by President George Washington.


"There will be a lot of energy around this event," said Denver Peacock, owner of Little Rock-based The Peacock Group, which was hired to help the museum with public relations and marketing. "The Marshals Service has been woven into the fabric of the federal law enforcement and the nation. They are our first federal law enforcement agency and are an important part of our nation’s history."


The event is another of recent big events for the museum. In July, the designs of three much anticipated coins commemorating the 225th anniversary were unveiled. The museum is set to receive up to $5 million from the sales of the coins, which go on sale in 2015. The funds raised through the surcharges will help construct the museum.


Museum President and CEO Jim Dunn said he was hopeful to have a couple of the minted coins available to display.


With an anonymous $5 million gift announced last week, has raised an estimated about $19.5 million. Dunn said museum officials will continue to actively fundraising.


"We have come a long way," Dunn said. "We still have a distance to go, of course, but this is significant in making this a reality."


Spears said the momentum and energy of the ceremony is exciting and he is eager to see the potential economic development the museum could bring to the area.


"We’re more encouraged now than we have been in a long time," Spears said. "It’ll put Fort Smith on a national map for tourism talk."


Claude Legris, a member of the Marshals Museum board and executive director of the Fort Smith Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, agreed. He said with Bentonville being home to Crystal Bridges, and the Clinton Presidential Center being located in Little Rock, the state could become a hub for national tourism by having three national museums within its boundaries.


"Fort Smith will be right in the center of it," Legris said. "This is going to make an impression on people all across the United States."


Festivities for the event will begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the museum site on Riverfront Drive along the Arkansas River in Fort Smith. The River Valley Community Band will play at the ceremony that will include appearances from Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, U.S. Marshals Service director Stacia Hylton, and U.S. Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, U.S. Sens. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and John Boozman, R-Ark.


The estimated 50,000-square-foot museum is expected to open in 2017.