Events & Workshops


Sleeping Bear Dunes Barn Restoration Workshop

Date: June 10-14, 2024

Location:  Kropp Farm, 12 miles north of Glen Arbor and 5 miles south of Leland on M-22 near Townline Road.

Workshop participant learning timber framing joinery at last year’s barn restoration project in the Port Oneida Rural Historic District at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore.

For the 28th year, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park maintenance staff is hosting host a “hands-on” barn restoration workshop to teach techniques and train barns owners and those interested how to do restoration work on timber and frame structures. Workers are not required to be skilled in the building trades, though experience is helpful and appreciated.

Wood Framing for Walls, Roof, and Floor and Siding Repair is the focus for this year. There will be opportunities to do some door and window repair, small stair construction and more. This workshop provides a unique experience to work with park staff who will show you how to make the repairs with the materials and tools provided.

Details: There is no cost to participate. The workshop begins on site at 9:00 a.m. each day. Participants should wear boots, gloves, and bring a sack lunch for each day that they attend. Participants can sign up for any number of days.

Camping will be allowed on site at the Kropp Farm during the workshop for all registered participants interested in doing so. Amenities will be provided on site, including access to showers at park campgrounds.

Interested?  Register in one of three ways with historical architect, Kimberly Mann: Call: (231) 326-4771; email:  [email protected],  or print and mail to: Kimberly Mann, Sleeping Bear Dunes N.L., 9922 Front St., Empire, MI 49630. Provide:  Name(s) of Attendee(s), Telephone Number, Email address, If you intend to camp on site note that, Y or N,  Identify how you are camping: (Tent, RV, Trailer, Pickup Camper, Vehicle).

Please register by June 3, 2024 so organizers can determine an approximate number of participants. Late registration is always accepted. Day-of-the-workshop drop-ins and observers are also welcome.

Fall Family Days at the Thumb Octagon Barn

Sept. 6-8, 2024

Location: 6948 Richie Rd, Gagetown, MI 48735

Octagon Barn Agricultural Museum near Gagetown

The Thumb’s premier barn festival is held the weekend after Labor Day. It kicks off with the Fish Fry on Friday night, followed by two days of family events on Saturday and Sunday. The MBPN exhibit and timber-frame model barn will be on display in the barn museum during the festival.

In 2024 the museum will be celebrating the barn’s 100th anniversary. The theme will be “A Century Jewel — the Thumb Octagon Barn.”

Information will be posted at the Museum’s website and Octagon Barn Facebook Page. Registration is required for kids 10 and up to participate in the building of the model barn in August. Contact MBPN member Rose Putnam, who co-chairs the event for Friends of the Thumb Octagon Barn, at 989-444-9574.


Pioneer Day

Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023, 10am – 5pm

Location: Waterloo Farm Museum,

13493 Waterloo Munith Rd, Grass Lake, MI 49240

This celebration of late 19th century farm life includes:

  • Tours of the Farm Museum, Dewey School
  • Live music
  • Demonstrations of crafts, trades and traditional cooking methods
  • Vendor booths and concession stand.

The MBPN Teamwork & Timbers model barn was on display at the 2023 event.

Romeo Barn Tour

Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023,11am – 4pm

This Macomb County community hosts an annual barn tour every September. In 2023 for example, there were 8 locations on the self-guided tour for a viewing of 13 structures.

Advance tickets can be purchased at the Romeo Archives Museum, Town Hall Antiques Mall or the Romeo Chamber of Commerce. Cost is $20 for adults and $10 for children 6-12.

Day-of tickets are sold only at the Romeo Schools Administration Building parking lot at 316 Main Street.

Event information will be posted on the Society’s facebook page when 2024 details are available:

Contact: the Romeo Historical Society at 586-752-4111.

Celebrating National Preservation Month at Leelanau County Poor Farm

Date: Saturday, May 27, 2023

Location:  County Road 616west of Maple City in Myles Kimmerly Park, a Leelanau County Park.

Contact: [email protected]

“Save the Poor Farm Barn” preservation efforts of the last few years:

    • Meet the contractors and volunteers who have done the barn and grounds work.

    • Learn about Row x Row nonprofit who handles the vegetable garden and assists with distribution through local pantries.

Activities include:

    • Small group barn tours

    • Draft horse demonstrations (discing, harnessing and wagon rides)

    • MBPN Barn Exhibit, Leland Historical Society Museum’s new Model A and more from local history museums

Ruby Ellen Farm

Date: Sunday, May 21, 2023, 11am – 4pm  

Location: 5946 S. Center Hwy, Traverse City, MI 49684 (Bingham Township in Leelanau County)

Activities include: Horse-drawn plowing & field work, harnessing demonstrations, rope making, wagon rides, hiking trails, MBPN barn exhibit.

Museums and gift shop: 11am-1pm & 2-4pm

Information: Website, (231) 590-9304


Meridian Heritage Festival

Date: Saturday, Oct. 1, 2022,10AM to 4PM

Location:  Meridian Historical Village located at 5151 Marsh Road, Okemos, MI 48864

MBPN’s Teamwork & Timbers model barn was at this free, fun family event in Okemos. The festival featured Civil War reenactors, a vintage baseball game, children’s fishing and games, craft demonstrations and food trucks. Visitors also toured the structures in the Meridian Historic Village and viewed exhibits at the Nokomis Native American Cultural Center.

Hadley Homestead Harvest Days – Farm Hop and Festival

Date: Saturday, Sept. 16, 2022

Location: Hadley Mill Museum, 3633 S. Hadley Rd, Hadley MI (Lapeer County)

Starting and end points for the tour: Hadley Mill Museum and Le Fleur Décor garden center

    • Farm Hop – This tour 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.

    • Festival – Art Fair, Music & Food Trucks and More! at Le Fleur Décor, 3442 S. Hadley Road.

    • Mill Museum at 3633 S. Hadley Rd – Open from 10:00-5:00. Free admission.

FundRaise the Barn Roof

Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021

The Community Farm of Ann Arbor, at 1525 S Fletcher Rd in Chelsea, hosted a fundraiser to replace the roofs on their historic barns. MBPN member, architect and barn historian Chuck Bultman, along with Terry Richards, presented “Healthy Structures,” an interactive talking tour. The festivities included children’s activities as well as contra dancing with music by local band “Nutshell” and local dance caller Drake Meadow.

Exhibit at Ella Sharp Museum

From Dec. 12, 2020 to Sept. 12, 2021, the Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson hosted a special exhibit showcasing the beauty and history of barns as documented by artists, preservationists and multi-generational farmers.

Our Wooden Built Heritage: Structural Evaluation of Existing Timber Structures

May 6, 2021 at 1:00 pm

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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!

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.


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.

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 [email protected].

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