Annual Conference

Act III – Finding Resolutions for Valued Barns

Friday, May 31, 2019 – Barn Tour in the Ann Arbor area

Saturday, June 1, 2019 – MBPN Annual Conference in Ypsilanti

Dawn Farm Event Barn , Ypsilanti

What is the Third Act for an Old Barn?

If the First Act was building barns and establishing agrarian lifestyles and practices, the Second Act is considering the fate of those agrarian buildings following the industrialization of farming. It is the theme then for the 2019 Michigan Barn Preservation Network annual conference to consider the Third Act — resolutions for these valued structures.

Friday Barn Tour  

May 31 – 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Meet at Holiday Inn Express- Ann Arbor West, 323 North Zeeb Road, Ann Arbor 48103

The conference will begin with a tour of barns in western Washtenaw County — some of which have been restored, others are in the planning stages for future use, and some are just holding on. All are old timber framed structures that date back to the middle to early 1800’s when this part of Michigan was being settled. Click here for more information.

MBPN’s Annual Membership Meeting will open Friday (in the Holiday Inn) at the conclusion of our bus tour, and will reconvene Saturday, 9 am at Dawn Farm.

Saturday Session 

June 1 – 9:00 am to 5:00 pm at Dawn Farm Event Barn, 6633 Stony Creek Rd, Ypsilanti 48197

The conference will continue on Saturday with discussions and presentations about finding new uses for old structures. We will share both successes and failures for all of us to learn from.

  • MBPN Updates – Learn about new changes to the Barn & Farmstead Survey project, and help to shape the new MBPN Endowment.
  • Barn of the Year – Awards will be presented after lunch.
  • Silent Auction – Bid on treasures!
Keynote Speaker: Matthew Grocoff

An Ann Arbor-based environmentalist and sustainability advocate, Matt Grocoff received national acclaim for rehabilitating his Victorian home to achieve net-zero energy. His current project is to save a rare pre-Civil War barn from a nearby farm and turn it into a community and educational building to promote responsible building, environmental stewardship and noble agrarian buildings.

A 21st Century Organic Farm: Giving Old Barns a New Home

Cindy Stiles has a vision for a new organic farm in Ann Arbor Township that includes incorporating four unwanted timber-framed barns as the primary structures. One will be used for her animals, the second for her private house, the third as a work building for her staff, and the fourth for an educational building and kitchen

Hear about her goals for this property, her research into the kind of farm she wants, the many issues with the buildings and the challenge of going through the municipal process.

Technical Round-Table Discussion

A panel of experts in the field of construction and building re-use will address issues that face us when we want to reuse old barns differently, or not differently. We will have experts in:

  • Zoning

  • Environmental law

  • Construction

  • Timber framing

Bring your questions, concerns and experience to share. Learn what has been tried here and elsewhere.

Register Here


Recap: 2018 

The 23rd Annual Michigan Barn Preservation Network Conference was held May 4 and 5, 2018 at Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers World Headquarters and Museum located in St. Johns, Michigan.

Members of the Michigan Barn Preservation Network enjoy a comfortable ride on the way to touring local barns.

Friday we featured our bus tour of local barns in Clinton and Ionia counties.  For dinner, we gathered at the Agro-Culture Liquid Fertilizers World Headquarters for some great food and entertaining stories and photos about Michigan barns from Keith Bruder.

The Saturday program featured speakers, auctions and other presentations. One of the highlights was the announcement and presentation of the Barn of the Year awards.

In addition to camaraderie with fellow barn enthusiasts, the conference provided a wonderful opportunity to share information and to inspire barn preservation efforts throughout the state.

To view the agenda of last year’s conference, click here.