How to Preserve Historic Barns

 On November 16th in Dighton, MA, The Trustees of Reservations & Preservation Massachusetts are holding a free workshop on historic barns in Southeastern MA:

Topics include understanding the different types of barns found in the region, tips on stabilizing deteriorating barns until full preservation can begin and how the Community Preservation Act can benefit a variety of historic preservation projects. Speakers include master timber framer Ian Ellison and other Massachusetts historic preservation specialists. To register and to submit pictures of local barns with specific questions, email Kelley Whitmore at Pre-registration for the workshop is encouraged but not required. It will be held Monday, November 16 at 6:30PM at the Bristol County Agricultural High School Library, 135 Center Street, Dighton. For more information, contact

You may also want to check out  Michele Barker's article, "Preserving Barns & Rural Landscapes" in the July/August issue of the Communty Preservation Coalition's CPA Update (an excerpt below): 

After decades of neglect, these massive buildings can be massively expensive to renovate. Farmers seeking to preserve their historic barns can sometimes tap USDA or Massachusetts Department of Agriculture resources or state and federal historic tax credits, though the tax credit application process can be daunting. Ironically, programs designed to protect agricultural land often provide no protection for the buildings that reflect the essence of the land's agricultural history, and sometimes even regard barns as liabilities to be removed. 

Barns that are no longer used for farming are a tricky proposition. It can be frustrating to meet homeowners seeking to rehabilitate their historic barns and have no funding resources to offer them. Towns with Community Preservation Act funds have a definite advantage when dealing with endangered agricultural buildings, and can get a two-for-one benefit by combining open space and historic preservation in one project.