You have a chance to get in on the ground floor of something big.
It’s the new Plattsburgh Air Force Base Museum, which is being planned for property across the road from the War of 1812 Museum, on what used to be called the Old Base.
It’s an exciting new endeavor, but it needs financial support to become a reality.
The idea, first proposed by Battle of Plattsburgh Association President Keith Herkalo, was approved by the group’s Board of Directors back in March after meetings that demonstrated substantial public interest.
The nonprofit venture has been registered with the New York State Department of State and can begin accepting donations. The PAFB Museum will be a separate entity from the Battle of Plattsburgh Association, with its own funding.
The building that will hold the museum need updating, and the Battle Association has to renovate some space in its current building to store PAFB artifacts. Money is also needed to design and produce exhibits and displays.
Early estimates were that about $25,000 was needed to get the project started. Organizers are ready to start raising money now as they eye a spring 2014 opening.
Last week, a membership drive began. Paid members will get free admission to the new museum for themselves and their guests. One-year memberships cost $25.
We are pleased to see that organizers have set the amount at a reasonable level. With such a modest membership cost, they should be able to pull in a strong number of responses. Life memberships are available for $250 for those who feel especially dedicated to this concept.
Beyond the membership fees, donations are being accepted to help with capital expenses.
We hope area residents and people all across the United States who have ties to PAFB will get behind this idea. Plattsburgh Air Force Base had an impact that extended far beyond the city and town in which it was located. It influenced municipal, business and personal finances, military history and homeland security (before that term was even used), regional growth and many interpersonal relationships.
It is fitting that its local significance be captured forever in a site that everyone can visit. It is also important that the museum feature high-quality, interactive exhibits. No museum can sustain itself if all it offers are glass cases holding newspaper clippings and old photographs. Creativity and attention to detail are imperative.
And that will require money to develop and sustain, likely more than the forecast startup costs.
People who want to donate can mail a check made payable to BOPA/PAFBM to Plattsburgh Air Force Base Museum, 31 Washington Road, Plattsburgh, NY 12901 or donate online at battleofplattsburgh.org/plattsburgh-air-force-base-museum.
Your funds will commemorate Plattsburgh’s rich military history and add a new star on the map of this area’s historical-tourism offerings.