The Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania and the National Barn Alliance held its first Pennsylvania joint Historic Barn Conference at Kutztown University from June 5-7.The mission of both these non-profit organizations is to record and preserve historic barns.

The National Barn Alliance asked the local barn group to host the conference last September.

"The board discussed it and said 'OK, lets give it a whirl'," said Sheila Miller, president of the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania.

The conference welcomed around 100 barn enthusastics from Pennsylvania, Kansas, Michigan, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware.

"We are pleased with the level of participation in our first major event," Miller said.

Thursday, June 5, kicked-off the conference with a pre-conference event at the PA German Cultural Heritage Center.

Miller, Robert Ensminger, barn author of The Pennsylvania Barn - Its Origins, Evolution and Distribution in North America, Robert Reynolds, executive director of German Cultural Heritage Center and the Freyberger Professor of Pennsylvania German studies at the university, Melissa Evans, who specializes in antique timber frame restoration and design, Ken Sandri, a member of the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania and and works for US Forest Service at Grey Towers National Historic Site, and National Future Farmers of America members and high school students Amelia Mengel (Junior from Kutztown High School) and Nate Drzal (Senior from Conrad Weiser High School), attended the event.

At the pre-conference the group toured and were educated about the German Cultural Heritage Center's standard barn from 1871 and plans for the future of these histortical infrastructures.

"We are trying to raise awareness and look at what we can do to save them," said Reynolds.

The future goal of the barn community is to create a database and find the total number of barns in Pennsylvania through surveys, said Reynolds. The future plan is to have the results online for the public to explore.

Miller also stated that the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania also plans to create a model barn that will be designed by Evans and used for classroom teaching. She said the model can be used to teach math, history, and science.

Other activities during the conference were:

€¢ June 5th - Networking Reception at the PA German Cultural Heritage Center.

€¢ June 6 - A Continental Breakfast at Kutztown University's Student Union Building and Bob Ensminger as the keynote speaker.

€¢ June 6 - Tips From Timber Frames - Traditional Timber Frames in Modern Sustainable Farming Operations by Brain Snyder and Analyzing Historic Timer Frame Barns; Condition Assessment by Douglass Reed.

€¢ June 6 - Star Barn Sage by John High & Robert Barr and Barn Rigging for Foundation and Traditional Timber Frame Repairs by Richard Lazarus.

€¢ June 6 - Historic Barn Preservation, Renovation, Conversion by Ken Sandri, Melissa Evans and Greg Huber and Education Curricula by Rod Scott.

€¢ June 6 - Hex Signs by Pat Donmoyer and Hudson Valley Dutch Barns by Keith Cramer.

€¢ June 6 - Pennsylvania Barns: English Influence by Jeff Marshall and Preservation Panel: Farmland/farmstead Preservation, Federal and State Policies for Barn and Farm Preservation by Dr. William H. Pettit.

€¢ June 6 - Dinner Tribute to Pioneers of Barn Research by John Heyl, Bob Ensminger and Dr. Joe Glass.

€¢ June 7 - Oley Valley Historic Barn Tour.

"This area is a treasure trove of historic barns," Miller said about Oley Valley's barns. "I know everyone will be thrilled with the day-long trip, guided by Bob Ensminger and fellow Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania directors, Greg Huber, Jim Lewars and Phil Pendleton. This is an opportunity to hear first-hand from the most respected historic barn experts in the business."

For more information about the Historic Barn and Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania visit: http://www.pahistoricbarns.org

For more information on the National Barn Alliance visit: http://www.barnalliance.org.

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