PLATTSBURGH — The Battle of Plattsburgh Association has received a state grant for Museum Director Tammy Rock to attend a retreat targeting improved marketing and strategic-growth strategies.
The four-day workshop, to be held in mid September at historic Great Camp Sagamore, will give museum staff, trustees and volunteers from across the state a chance to work with their peers to collectively discuss ways to boost museum access.
“I am working hard to market the museum beyond the Plattsburgh region,” said Rock, who took over as manager earlier this year. “I believe you have to build your reputation with other museums within your region and state before you can move on to a national audience.”
Rock initiated the process to become involved with the Museum Association of New York and with Museumwise, a statewide organization that offers professional help to improve institutions and develop strong planning goals.
“Everything comes in steps,” she said, adding that the museum received a private donation to help pay membership fees for both organizations. “With Museumwise, I would be able to attend the state conference each year and share our museum with others from across our state.”
Rock had to go through a lengthy process to apply for inclusion in the September retreat, including an application process that described the museum’s mission and goals for the future, as well as a four-page essay describing her background in working with museums.
“I felt it was important to apply to attend because I have over 25 years of business management but only five years of museum experience,” she said.
“To help my institution grow, I felt it was important to learn from the experts, the directors and museum staff that have spent many years in the trenches.”
The $500 grant comes from the New York State Council on the Arts and is administered by Museumwise.
Promoting the significance of the Battle of Plattsburgh has been a high priority for the region for decades. National recognition often overlooks what happened at Plattsburgh, where a small American force defeated the much larger and trained British troops on Sept. 11, 1814, effectively ending the War of 1812.
That recognition is often saved for places like Baltimore, New Orleans and even Sackett’s Harbor in western New York, places the British used for diversion tactics while focusing their true effort on claiming Lake Champlain, which would have effectively gained control of a major entryway into the fledgling United States.
In fact, the federal government has developed a fundraising effort to promote the bicentennial of the War of 1812 by selling commemorative coins from the era, and the bulk of that funding is going directly to the state of Maryland for its bicentennial programs.
Keith Herkalo, president of the Battle of Plattsburgh Association, has recently published an upgraded version of his research on the Battle of Plattsburgh. The book clearly recognizes the importance of Lake Champlain and the local battles, as he points to not only the naval battle on Cumberland Bay but the land battle in and around the village of Plattsburgh.
Herkalo is involved in a series of presentations that he and other regional supporters hope will emphasize the true significance of the Battle of Plattsburgh.
Rock has also seen improved interest in the museum, including its most successful Museum Days in early June, when museums across the county opened their doors for visitors to attend free of charge.
“We had huge success with the ACCA passports,” she said of the Adirondack Coast Cultural Alliance’s efforts to promote Museum Days.
Visitors can pick up stamps from 12 participating facilities through Sept. 3 to be entered in a drawing for prizes.
Email Jeff Meyers: