Annual Conference

Adaptive Use: Creating Memories, Events and Museums

Join us on Feb. 24, 2024

MSU’s Kellogg Center is the venue for MBPN’s Annual Conference on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024.

Enjoy a day of camaraderie, informative presentations and inspiration in celebration of barn preservation. The day will also feature a lovely buffet lunch, an auction and, of course, the prestigious annual Barn of the Year Awards.

This year the conference will focus on new uses for old barns with the theme: Adaptive Use: Creating Memories, Events and Museums. We’ll hear how property owners have converted their barns into event spaces and wedding venues. We’ll see how municipalities and county parks have benefited from repurposing donated barns as museums and community spaces.

Date: Saturday, Feb. 24, 2024, 9:00am – 4:30pm

Location: Lincoln Room at MSU Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center, 219 S. Harrison Road, East Lansing, MI 48824

Cost: Member $75; Non-Member $115. Click here to register.

2024 Conference Schedule

9:00      Welcome and Announcements (Coffee and Refreshments)

9:10      Annual Membership Business Meeting

10:15    Presentation – Ruth Stahl, Stahl Event Barn (Missaukee County)

11:15    Presentation – Bob Griffin, Ogemaw County Fairgrounds Barn (Ogemaw County)

12:15    Lunchtime for fun and networking and MBPN Annual Auction Benefit

1:30      2024 Barn of the Year Presentations

2:15      Presentation – Sharon and Warren Conley, The Olde Stone Porch (Ionia County)

3:15      Presentation – Pat McKay, Van Hoosen Farm Museum (Oakland County)

4:15      Wrap-Up

About the Speakers

Ruth Stahl – After discontinuing dairy farming in the mid-1990s, Ruth and her husband Ivan decided to do everything possible to save their vintage barn. It was built in 1901 on the original 80 acres homesteaded by Ivan’s great grandfather in 1882. Following years of renovation work they officially opened the Stahl Event Barn in 2014, and over the last 10 years have hosted approximately 200 events — retirement and anniversary parties, graduation open houses, proms, reunions, celebrations of life, fundraisers, musical events and many weddings. Designated Barn of the Year in 2016, the Stahl Event Barn is located in McBain in Missaukee County near Cadillac.

Bob Griffin – He says he’s not a builder, but Bob Griffin Jr. has restored many barns, including three in just the past year. He will tell about the early 1900s barn acquired by his family in 1982 that he has restored as a tribute to his recently deceased father. Because of the structure’s condition and unfavorable location, Bob Jr. decided to disassemble the 60′ by 40′ gable-roofed barn, transport it to a new site and then put it all back together.  Designated Barn of the Year in 2022, Griffin Barn is now located at the Ogemaw County Fairgrounds in West Branch.

Sharon Conley – When they bought a 1850s-era barn and distinctive farmhouse in Ionia in 2021, Sharon and Warren Conley intended to make only rudimentary fixes to the barn. But once they began the work, the whole family fell in love with that old barn and knew it needed to be repurposed to create new memories. The newly rehabilitated and preserved barn has been given a new life as part of The Olde Stone Porch wedding venue. Named a Barn of the Year in 2022, it is located halfway between Lansing and Grand Rapids in Ionia County.

Patrick McKay – Manager at the Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm, Pat McKay will talk about adaptive reuse projects in which several barns there were converted into year-round facilities. This farm property acquired by the City in 1989 includes 5 barns, 2 houses, a schoolhouse and 16 acres of gardens and grounds. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is visited by 60,000 people a year. Located in Oakland County in southeast Michigan, barns on the property received awards from MBPN in 2014 and 2022.

See recaps from MBPN Annual Conferences in 2023, 2022, 2020 and 2019.