(Top L to R) Pond House Farm Barn in Manton and Ebers Family Barn in Comstock Park in the Continuing Agriculture category.

And the Winners Are…

Each year, the Michigan Barn Preservation Network recognizes barns and their owners for their efforts in preserving icons of our state’s agricultural heritage. We are pleased to announce seven barns receiving the prestigious award for 2023:

Continuing Agriculture

Ebers Family Barn—Comstock Park, MI (Kent County)

Pond House Farm BarnManton, MI (Wexford County)

Adaptive Use

Maple Woods Farm BarnFarmington Hills, MI (Oakland County)

Pawlusiak BarnClinton, MI (Washtenaw County)

Murphy Barn—Rochester Hills, MI (Oakland County)

Barn 1888—Hopkins, MI (Allegan County)

Unruh Barn—Okemos, MI (Ingham County)

Top L to R: Pawlusiak Barn, Maple Woods Farm Barn, Unruh Barn. Middle: Barn 1888. Bottom L: Murphy Barn

See barn profiles here.

Congratulations to the owners and applicants:

John Ebers & Family

Jim &Theresa Williams

Lee & Floy Barthel, Earl Baxtresser

Robert & Lois Pawlusiak

Keith & Kelly Murphy

Bryan & Danielle Howarth

Meridian Charter Township, Brad Brogren, Deborah Guthrie

Parade of Great Michigan Barns 2023

L to R: Garden View Barn in Byron Center, Banjolina Barn in Monroe, Serenity Barn in Iron River and Loudenslager Barn in Burr Oak

All submissions for Barn of the Year deserve recognition for their unique characteristics and history. In recognition of the owners’ efforts to faithfully rehabilitate and maintain their barn, the Michigan Barn Preservation Network has designated 18 properties as Great Michigan Barns 2023.

See Barn of the Year slide show with pictures of the 18 nominated barns — BEFORE, DURING and AFTER their transformation.

Annual Conference

Held March 4, 2023 in East Lansing

The Lincoln Room at MSU’s Kellogg Center was the site of the 2023 MBPN Annual Conference and Membership Meeting.

Theme: Hands-On Work of Saving Barns

The 2023 MBPN Annual Conference featured four presenters who have each spent many years doing the actual hands-on work of barn preservation. We learned from experts Chad Stitt of American Heritage Barn Preservation, Dan Dietz of Deitz House Moving Engineers, Michael Schmitt, Stone Mason, and Ken Brock of Legendary Timberworks. See agenda. (Full coverage of the event is in the Spring 2023 Newsletter.)

The Questions We’re Most Often Asked…

Q. Is there any funding for barn restoration?

The Michigan Barn Preservation Network keeps tabs on funding opportunities in the form of grants, tax credits and low-interest loans. Click here for the latest information about organizations and programs that provide some kind of assistance.

Currently there are no governmental grants in Michigan to help private owners of barns with restoration or repair of their personal property. Work on barns which are owned by municipalities, nonprofit organizations or other public entities may be eligible for consideration for grants and awards through governmental and foundation programs. Listing on the National or State Register of Historic Places is a requirement for most grants.

Q. How can I find someone to fix my barn?

There are people all across Michigan who do repair work on old barns. Some do historically accurate timber frame work. Some do structural reinforcement by using cables. Some specialize in installing steel roofing and siding. Many will repair anything from foundation to cupola.

Our website provides a Contractor’s List as a place for barn owners to start looking for help.

Also check out Tom Irrer’s article about finding and vetting contractors.

Q. Why are barns red?

MBPN Board Member Keith Anderson offers several practical and cost-effective reasons why red became the dominant color of early barns.  See article.


Click here for current issue.

The Spring 2023 newsletter (Vol 101) is the post-conference issue. It highlights the four experts who addressed this year’s theme, “How Hands-On Barn Preservation Works.” Also featured are award winners of “Barn of the Year” and “Great Michigan Barns” recognition. 

101 Issues and Counting…

Since 1996 this quarterly update for members has featured innumerable stories and photos of barns throughout Michigan…and reports on what our board members, volunteers and supporters are doing to promote our mission. Click here to read the very first issue.

Become a MBPN member to receive the print edition of the newsletter in the mail several times a year.

Visit our archived library of newsletters


Virtual Barn School held launched on 12-10-20 with MHPNMBPN’s Barn School

The Michigan Barn Preservation Network offers barn workshops and classes in both onsite and virtual formats. In the hands-on field program, participants spend a Saturday assessing the condition and stability of a barn and learn about barn architecture, construction, maintenance and repair approaches.

The next workshop is scheduled for June 10, 2023 in Ortonville. Details to come.

MBPN’s Virtual Barn School 101 is featured on the YouTube channel of the Michigan Historic Preservation. Our Technical Team (Steve Stier, Tammis Donaldson and Stephanie White) covered a brief history of barns in Michigan, barn terminology and parts, and free to low-cost fixes barn owners can do. View Webinar Replay here.

Learn more about the Barn School here.


Welcome to the Michigan Barn Preservation Network (MBPN), 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 fosters the sharing of barn experiences and resources with this website and through educational events, recognition programs, connections and collaboration. 

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.

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