Events & Workshops


Barns: Preserving Agricultural Heritage

On exhibit through July 25, 2021

Location: Ella Sharp Museum, 3225 4th Street, Jackson, MI 49203

Hours: Wed-Sat 10 am – 5 pm; Sun 12-5 pm

Through artwork, historical preservation, and multi-generational farmers, “Barns” is an exhibition that highlights the unique beauty and history of our lands agricultural icons. Visit Museum’s website.


The Hadley Township Historical Society, in collaboration with the Michigan Barn Preservation Network, presents:

Farms, Barns, and Yarns – A Presentation by “Barn-Man” Jim Mulvany

Thursday, Sept. 2 at 7:00pm

Location: Hadley Township Offices, 4293 Pratt Rd, Hadley, MI (Lapeer County)

Come learn about various architectural features that identify and time-date Michigan barns and how changing agricultural practices over the years have guided farmers to adapt their barns’ useful purpose. Every barn has a story to tell, so be prepared to laugh and treasure the interesting lives of our ancestors who worked so hard and loved the land so much.

Hadley Homestead Harvest Day – Farm Hop and Festival

Saturday, Sept. 25 from 10:00am – 5:00pm

Location: Self-guided barn tour starts at the Hadley Mill Museum, 3633 S. Hadley Rd, Hadley MI

Tickets will be available this summer. (*Discounted tickets for Hadley Township Historical Society Members) This event is designed for families, history buffs, and those who simply want to revisit old America. Equipped with a map, guests on this self-guided tour will enjoy an engaging perspective of several area properties integral to farming in this region. Highlights include a scavenger hunt, demonstrations, and the Barn-Rockin’ Fall Festival. Come get an up-close look at the local barns and farms that hold stories of this community’s past.

For more information on both events, please call 810-797-4026. Museum admission is FREE during events.

Thumb Octagon Barn Agricultural Museum in Gagetown, MI

Fall Family Days at the Octagon Barn – Sept. 10-12, 2021

The Thumb’s premier barn festival is being planned for the weekend after Labor Day — the annual Fish Fry on Friday, Sept. 10 followed by two days of family events on Saturday and Sunday.

Watch for current information at the Museum’s website or Octagon Barn Facebook Page.  Or contact MBPN member Rose Putnam, who co-chairs the event for Friends of the Thumb Octagon Barn, at 989-444-9574.


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Our Wooden Built Heritage: Structural Evaluation of Existing Timber Structures

May 6, 2021 at 1:00 pm

Tom Nehil, of Nehil-Sivak Structural Engineers, presented acceptable practices for evaluating existing structures, and explained why it is necessarily different than design of new timber structures. This webinar sponsored by the Michigan Historic Preservation Network benefitted engineers and investigators directly involved in structural assessments and also owners, architects, and builders wishing to understand the process better and hire the work done well. (Photos courtesy of MHPN and Tom Nehil)

Stamp Out Barn Loss!

Virtual Gathering on Barn History and Preservation Trends

In celebration of the U.S. Postal Service’s January 24, 2021 issuance of a new set of barn stamps for postcards, the New Hampshire Preservation Alliance held a virtual gathering for barn preservation groups across the country.

It featured a panel of nationally recognized barn experts discussing what old barns mean to our communities, trends in barn preservation and practical ideas for stewardship. An award-winning fiddle player opened and closed the program.

Click here for the replay.

The 36-cent Barn postcard stamps celebrate the beauty and history of American barns. Each stamp reflects one of the four seasons: a round barn surrounded by the hazy light and warm colors of fall; a gambrel-roofed barn in summer; a forebay barn in early spring; and a Western barn on a winter’s night. See announcement by USPS.

Raising the Roof on Michigan’s Barn Heritage

Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021, Noon to 1 pm

Live-stream lecture by Jim Mulvany, Barn Historian and Michigan Barn Preservation Network Board Member

History Hounds® Lecture Series hosted by the Historical Society of Michigan (HSM)

Viritual Barn School held launched on 12-10-20 with MHPN

Michigan Virtual Barn School: The Basics

Dec. 10, 2020 at 1:00 pm

The webinar covered a brief history of barns in Michigan, barn terminology and parts, and free to low-cost fixes barn owners can do to help their barn structures. Replay available here.

Presenters: MBPN Technical Committee – Steve Stier, Tammis Donaldson and Stephanie White

Host: Michigan Historic Preservation Society – Mallory Bower

For more information about Barn School Workshops, click here.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Barn Workshop

June 15 – 19, 2020

This favorite annual workshop was cancelled in 2020 and has not been scheduled for 2021. LIkely the program will resume in 2022.

We will return to the Miller Barn at Port Oneida to complete the additional timber floor beams and framing that we discovered while repairing the main threshing floor.  There is still work to do to repair the deteriorated loft floor as well above the milking parlor.  Work will also include repairing the animal stalls, and wood window and door repairs will also be on the agenda as well.

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Workshop participants volunteer at Miller Barn in the Port Oneida Rural Historic District.

We will again offer camping on site at Miller Barn. The park campground is also available as an online reservation that you must make yourself and pay for in advance starting no earlier than 6 months prior to the first day you intend to camp.  Please go to to make and pay for those reservations on your own.  Once you attend the barn workshop, the camping fees will be reimbursed to you.

Click here for the registration form. For more information, contact Kimberly Mann at Sleeping Bear Dunes Nationl Lakeshore:

MBPN Annual Conference

Saturday, Feb. 29, 2020

The 2020 MBPN Annual Conference was held at Kellogg Center in East Lansing. Program Recap

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Keynote: Old Barns as Art – Cultural Tourism in Port Austin, MI

Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference at Grand Traverse Resort

In 2021 the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference was held Feb. 17 – 21 as a virtual event. The Michigan Barn Preservation Network was an exhibitor at the Jan. 24-25, 2020 conference held at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme.

Barn School Field Workshops

Participants spent a Saturday assessing the condition and stability of a barn to determine its needs. They learned about barn architecture, construction, maintenance and repair approaches.

  • Sept. 14 in Northern Michigan (Wexford and Kalkaska counties): Workshop included a stone repointing demonstration. Instructors: Steve Stier and Tammis Donaldson.
  • Sept. 28 in Grass Lake (Jackson County): Projects included closing a gap in the basement foundation wall and adding a support column at a rotted beam connection. Instructors: Tammis Donaldson, Stephanie White and Steve Stier.

To inquire about future Barn School programs, contact: Steve Stier at

Romeo Barn Tour

The Romeo Historical Society sponsors an annual barn tour on the third Saturday in September. One of the seven featured barns in 2019 was a Michigan Barn Preservation Network “Barn of the Year” awardee. Mt. Bruce Farm, on Bordman Rd in Bruce Township, received the honor in 2019 for the owner’s stewardship and preservation effort to maintain the barn’s condition and outstanding character.

Click here for Teamwork & Timbers schedule at local festivals and events.