Pond House Farm Barn in Wexford County is one of the nominees for 2023 Barn of the Year recognition. See gallery of all 18 finalists in the pre-conference issue of the newsletter.

Coming Soon: 2023 Winners

The Barn of the Year Committee, made up of eight individuals, is at work evaluating applications and determining the winners for 2023. The awards will be presented at the Michigan Barn Preservation Network Annual Conference on March 4 in East Lansing.

Award categories cover barns that continue to be used for agriculture and those that are adapted for other uses and whether the barn is family-owned or the project of a non-profit or commercial entity. This year we received entries from Allegan, Berrien, Cheboygan, Ingham, Iron (U.P.), Kalkaska, Kent, Livingston, Monroe, Oakland, St. Joseph, Washtenaw, Wayne and Wexford counties. Read more.

Annual Conference

Saturday, March 4, 2023 in East Lansing

We will return to the Lincoln Room at MSU’s Kellogg Center in East Lansing for the 2023 Conference on Saturday, March 4.

Theme: How We Do the Work of Barn Preservation

The 2023 MBPN Annual Conference will feature five presenters who have each spent many years doing the actual hands-on work of barn preservation. We look forward to hearing Chad Stitt of American Heritage Barn Preservation, Roger Bateson of RJ’S Complete Barn Service, Dan Dietz of Deitz House Moving Engineers, Michael Schmitt, Stone Mason, and Ken Brock of Legendary Timberworks.

See conference schedule.

Registration now open.

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.

  • Preview the upcoming Annual Conference and sign up for the March 4, 2023 day-long event.  
  • See the 2023 Barn of the Year nominees in the article “On Our Way to the “Second One Hundred” on pp 4-6.
  • Get to know more about the Michigan Barn Preservation Network and how you can support its mission.

We are now in our 100th edition of the MBPN newsletter! Since 1996 when the Network began creating this quarterly update for members, the newsletter 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.

Visit our archived library of newsletters to find a wealth of history and information.

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 MBPN 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

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.