Press-Republican

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December 18, 2011

Battle group receives state charter

PLATTSBURGH — The Battle of Plattsburgh Association has received a state charter, which recognizes its efforts to offer a top-notch local museum.

The association, which runs a War of 1812 interpretive museum at the PARC museum complex near U.S. Oval, is now able to continue operating as a nonprofit, charitable corporation.

TAX DEDUCTIONS

"As with anything in the education field, we're required to receive an incorporation certificate from the New York State Education Department," explained Keith Herkalo, president of the association's Board of Directors.

"The certificate allows us to extend the tax-deduction status for donations."

The Battle of Plattsburgh Association formed in 1999, but the application process for state certification began in earnest just a few years ago.

PROVE STABILITY

The organization had to show that it has continued to meet various requirements as an educational facility.

"In order to receive a permanent charter, you have to make sure the museum is mature and stable," Herkalo said, citing the areas of personnel, finances, facilities, collections, exhibitions and programs as guidelines for achieving success.

The New York State Museum, as a representative of the state's Education Department, reviewed documents submitted by the association since the process began, including a list of officers, minutes from Board of Directors meetings and audit reports.

"We're a business that happens to be a museum," Herkalo said of the organization's continued success over the past decade.

"We've expanded in a climate of recession. They (the state) want to know that we have remained fiscally viable."

EXHIBITS REVIEWED

The state also puts a lot of emphasis on a museum's ability to care for and display its collection.

BOPA has consistently provided a standing exhibit — one that does not change over time — in both its art gallery and Battle of Plattsburgh Interpretive Center, as well as a revolving exhibit that changes every 12 to 18 months.

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