March 9, 2013

Plans for PAFB museum will move forward

PLATTSBURGH — Plans to establish a Plattsburgh Air Force Base museum took a step forward after residents voiced enthusiastic support for the idea Thursday evening.

The Battle of Plattsburgh Association hosted the meeting, which was held to gauge the community’s interest in opening a PAFB museum. About two dozen residents filled the auditorium at the War of 1812 Museum to give their blessing to the idea.


“We’ve heard from so many people who come back to visit Plattsburgh (after being stationed at PAFB) and ask, where is the base museum?” said BOPA President Keith Herkalo.

“‘We can tell you what we have, but the (Air Force’s) base museum doesn’t exist anymore,’” Herkalo and museum staff will tell the visitors.

“Their general response is, ‘Oh, that’s too bad,’” he said Thursday.

Tourists passing through Plattsburgh regularly stop to examine the examine the B-47 and FB-111 aircraft on static display near the entrance to the former Old Base and invariably enter the War of 1812 Museum to inquire about a base museum, Herkalo added.


The Battle of Plattsburgh Association owns the building where PAFB once housed its historical museum. Located across the road from the current War of 1812 Museum, it was the main display area when the association first organized.

“We have a vacant building that we’re looking for a way to use,” Herkalo said. “Let’s look for a way to use it that is compatible with the community.”

Herkalo said he has received many positive emails from across the country since the idea of opening a base museum was first reported on a week ago.

Donald Fuller was a docent for the base museum in the 1990s and was there when it closed in 1995. He passed around a sketch of the building, done by an airman, and said he would donate the artwork if the museum concept is approved.

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