Events & Workshops


MBPN Northeast Michigan Barn Tour

Oct. 14-15, 2022

See “Save the Date” announcement.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Barn Restoration Workshop

June 21-24, 2022 – Begins at 9:00am each day

Location: Ole Olson Farm, located 5 miles north of Glen Arbor, MI on M-22. (Turn onto Basch Road and follow the signs.)

Ole Olsen Barn in Port Oneida Historic Rural District is the project site for this year’s barn restoration workshop.

This marks the 27th year that the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore park maintenance staff is hosting a “hands-on” barn restoration workshop.

It will address repairing the whole Ole Olson farmstead — the large barn floor, as well as a variety of outbuildings from sheds and rabbit hutches to chicken coops and a granary.  The wide range of projects makes it a good workshop for families and novice carpenters, as well as more seasoned carpenters. 

The purpose of the workshop is to teach the techniques and train owners and those interested how to do restoration work on timber and frame structures. Topics include: Wood Siding Repair, Barn Floor Joist and Floor Boards, Animal Stall Repair, Door and Window Repair, and much more. 

Register to Attend:

There is no cost to participants. Workers are not required to be skilled in the building trades, though experience will be helpful and appreciated. Participants should wear boots, gloves, and bring a sack lunch for each day that they attend. 

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

Interested parties should contact the park historical architect, Kimberly Mann, by phone at (231) 326-4771, by email at or by postal mail c/o Sleeping Bear Dunes N.L., 9922 Front St., Empire, MI  49630. Provide name(s), phone, email, number of days participating and if camping, please specify whether in tent, pickup camper, RV/Trailer (length).


Michigan County Poor Farms – A Virtual Presentation

Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021

Long before the advent of modern social welfare, county governments in Michigan maintained poorhouses or poor farms. These facilities became both self-sustaining entities and refuges for a county’s poor, elderly and destitute.

Access the recording on the Library of Michigan YouTube Channel.

This MBPN 2021 Barn of the Year was restored by the Leelanau County Historic Preservation Society.

FundRaise the Barn Roof

Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021

Location: Community Farm of Ann Arbor, 1525 S. Fletcher Rd, Chelsea, MI

The Community Farm of Ann Arbor 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.

Hadley Homestead Harvest Day – Farm Hop and Festival

Farm Hop barn tour on Hadley Homestead Harvest Day (L to R): Polk Quilt Barn, Bullock Barn Home and Ivory Farm Barn (chestnut orchard). Not pictured: Elling Tree Farm (saw mill and sugar shack), Tuski Farm (antique fire truck) and Farmers Creek School.

Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021

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

This event designed for families, history buffs, and those who simply want close-up look at the local barns and farms included a Farm Hop starting from the Hadley Mill Museum. Equipped with a map, guests on the self-guided barn tour enjoyed an engaging perspective of several area properties integral to farming in this region. Other Hadley Homestead Harvest Day activities — music, food trucks, art fair, etc. — were held on the grounds of Le Fleur Decor store and garden.

For more information, call 810-797-4026.

In addition…The Hadley Township Historical Society, in collaboration with the Michigan Barn Preservation Network, featured Farms, Barns, and Yarns, a presentation by “Barn-Man” Jim Mulvany on Sept. 2 that attracted a record-breaking audience.

Romeo Barn Tour

Sept. 18, 2021

The Romeo Historical Society sponsors an annual barn tour on the third Saturday in September that starts from the Romeo Community School Administration Building at 316 N. Main St. This year the tour featured 8 sites and 13 barns. For more information, contact the Romeo Historical Society at 586-752-4111.

Fall Family Days at the Thumb Octagon Barn

Sept. 10-12, 2021

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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 are displayed in the barn museum during the festival.

Information is posted at the Museum’s website and Octagon Barn Facebook Page.  Contact MBPN member Rose Putnam, who co-chairs the event for Friends of the Thumb Octagon Barn, at 989-444-9574.

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.

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.

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

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