Drive through Leelanau County in late Spring and you’ll find barns framed by fruit blossoms. This is one of three barns on the Dunham Farm overlooking Lake Leelanau in Northport. (Photo by Jim Mulvany from 2020 MBPN calendar.)

Welcome to the Michigan Barn Preservation Network, a volunteer-based, statewide nonprofit dedicated to promoting appreciation, preservation, and rehabilitation of Michigan barns, farmsteads, and rural communities.

We are committed to the rehabilitation of barns for agricultural, commercial, public, and residential uses. Adapted re-use is a significant strategy for barn preservation – all structures need a reason for being.


MBPN recognized six barns and honored their owners at the  Annual Conference held Feb. 29, 2020 at MSU’s Kellogg Center in East Lansing. This year’s honorees revealed fascinating stories of tradition, family, determination, work ethic, diversity and love.

Click on the story title to read.  More about the winners is on the Barn of the Year page.

Photo collage above: (From top – 3 barns on left, 1 in center, 2 on right):

Gierok Barn, Rochester Hills, MI – Sears & Roebuck ‘Kit’ Barn: College decides to preserve, not tear down historic barn

MacKenzie Barn, Adrian MI – A Labor of Love: DIY projects give new life to family barn

Heritage Wedding Barns, Shelby, MI – Wedding Venue Business: Restoration experts relocate and rebuild a barn of their own

Buck Barn, Ludington, MI – A Tribute to Dad: Son takes on stewardship to rehabilitate family barn

Brunson Barn, Glen Arbor, MI – Historic Rural District: National Park Service, preservationists and volunteers save barn

Henry Brandt Barn, Bay City, MI – Sesquicentennial Farm: Stately double barn remains centerpiece of farmstead

MBPN Annual Conference

Barn Art – The Rise of Rural Tourism
Saturday, Feb. 29 at MSU’s Kellogg Center in East Lansing

This year’s conference explored Michigan barns and their uses through agriculture, family pride, tourism and rural heritage. Presentations explored the potential for rural arts and culture tourism – from the contemporary art installations in Port Austin to traditional folk art seen on quilt barn trails in 28 Michigan counties.

Gratiot Co Barn Quilt Blocks

Property Owners Share Their Journey…

The Annual Conference also featured restoration and building projects inspired by the iconic barn form.

An old barn is not only saved, but transformed into a showpiece…

After a particularly harsh winter, Colin Herren discovered his old barn was in danger of collapsing. He took initial steps to stabilize the structure (left) and eventually decided to go all out on the restoration (right).  Read more.

Building a Barn-inspired Cabin in the Woods

Jim Bowes and Jeanette Routhier shared the vision in their hearts as they set out to construct a vacation home modeled after a barn at the Walt Whitman birthplace. The building process involved a lot of planning, learning and dealing with unexpected glitches.  

The end product wasn’t what they thought it was going to be. But providence stepped in and gave them a bigger dream come true.

More conference highlights.

Spring 2020 Newsletter: Post-Conference Issue

Click here to read most recent issue.

“Under the Radar” visits Port Austin barns…

The popular PBS TV program about Michigan featured the Port Austin barn art project on a recent episode.

Barns symbolize positive qualities of American character: strength, honesty, endurance, security and family stability. They remind us of our heritage and help tell the story of rural life. They serve as landmarks while fulfilling the purpose for which they were originally designed, housing agricultural products and animals. With maintenance and some adaptations, they can serve us well for many years to come.

Michigan Barn Preservation Network is a member of:

 Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN)
– National Trust for Historic Preservation
National Barn Alliance (NBA)

MBPN fosters the sharing of barn experiences and resources with this website and through educational events, recognition programs, connections and collaboration.

Mission: Promoting Appreciation, Preservation and Rehabilitation of Michigan Barns, Farmsteads and Rural Communities since 1995.