Saving Michigan's Barns Theme of March Conference
The Michigan Barn Preservation Network 9th Annual Conference

Mt. Pleasant -- Strategies for giving new life to old barns top the agenda for the Michigan Barn Preservation Network's 9th annual conference March 12 and 13 in East Lansing on the campus of Michigan State University. Financing, tax credits, rehabilitation, alternative uses, adapting for modern agricultural use, wood preservatives, and other workshops crowd the two-day calendar. Chuck Law, of the Wisconsin Cooperative Extension will present information on national barn preservation initiatives. Network President Vera Wiltse will discuss progress in Michigan.

Additional 2004 attractions are the highly-praised Smithsonian's traveling exhibition, BARN AGAIN!; the premiere of the Network's own traveling educational exhibit, "Preserving Michigan's Barns"; a barn tour, and two showings on Friday of the newly-released film, "Barn Red." Produced by Michigan film-maker Rich Brauer, the film stars Ernest Borgnine and is set in Leelanau County where a farmer is threatened by the loss of the land he loves to high-pressure developers.

The conference at Michigan State University's Kellogg Center, begins with registration at 11 a.m. Friday. Pre-registration is encouraged but can be done onsite. An exhibition hall will be open throughout the day where people working in barn-related trades or selling barn items of various kinds (books, photography, artwork, and memorabilia) will be on hand. Workshops will be offered from 1 to 4 p.m. The evening concludes with a reception, slide exhibit, and live music.

Registration begins again at 8 a.m. Saturday with workshops starting at 9 a.m. and continuing until noon. The 2004 Michigan Barn of the Year will be named and a live "barn auction" will be held during lunch.

A tour of three restored barns near Kellogg Center will be held from approximately 1:30 to roughly 5 p.m. Buses leave from the Center with stops at the Crane Hill Farm in DeWitt Township to see the 100 year-old 46 x 68 ft. post and beam barn moved there from Frankenmuth; Four Season Farm where an early 20th Century 36 x 110 ft. gambrel dairy barn was moved there intact; and Shady Lodge Farm where two barns were combined to make one and later converted from a 32 x 86 ft dairy barn to machinery storage.

Tickets for the barn tour must be purchased in advance of the conference as transportation will be provided. Persons going on the tour should dress for the weather in order to see each barn inside and out.

Other highlights of the 2004 conference are an opportunity for conferees to "barn swap," post information on a "brag board," and pick up a copy of the newly updated barn contractors' guide.

Members' costs for the conference are $45 for the full two days; $15 Friday only, $40 Saturday with lunch and tour; $30 Saturday without lunch, $10 barn tour only. Non members' costs are $55 for the full two days; $20 Friday only, $45 Saturday with lunch and tour; $35 without lunch, $15 barn tour only. Annual membership in the Network is $30 for an individual and $40 for a family. A subscription to a quarterly newsletter without membership is $15. Send conference registration and/or membership in the form of a check payable to the MBPN at P.O. Box 614, Mt. Pleasant, MI. 48804-0614. For more information go to or call Vera Wiltse, president, at 989-465-1216.

Sponsors of the 2004 tour are the MBPN, the MSU Museum, and the Michigan Humanities Council.

The conference at Michigan State University's Kellogg Center, is being held in conjunction with the annual Ag & Natural Resources Week on the MSU campus.

The Michigan Barn Preservation Network (MBPN) was founded in 1995 by a group of visionary individuals, many with cooperative extension backgrounds. Seeing firsthand, the fate befalling Michigan's historic barns they made it their mission to preserve and rehabilitate barns while protecting farmsteads and rural communities.

This release was prepared by Jan Corey Arnett, Coralan Communications, 269-968-2510 or Please direct questions to Ms. Arnett or to Vera Wiltse at 989-465-1216.