1. Learn about the
How important is the barn? Is it
unusual? Is it an important
representative of a type of barn?
Perhaps an architectural or visual
landmark? Check out our toolkit on
researching your property’s history for
more tips on how to uncover the
2. Understand threats to the barn.
Typical obstacles include safety concerns, financial issues, encroaching
development, farm consolidation, and change of ownership. If the owner is
unavailable, collect what info you can from neighbors and other likely sources.
3. Gauge community support.
What is the current support for the structure? Talking to the owner, assisting with
repairs, finding a new owner, and providing expert consultations or financial
assistance are some of the ways that community members can help save a barn.
4. Find your fellow “barn people.”
Public educational programs are a great way to connect with other folks interested
in barn preservation. Programs can include local lecture series, hands-on
workshops at barns that need repair, and barn tours.
5. Connect with the National Barn Alliance.
The National Barn Alliance is a nation-wide, nonprofit organization coordinating efforts
to save America’s historic barns. It's a direct way to connect with barn enthusiasts
around the country.
6. Look into local preservation programs.
Most will offer education and technical assistance, recognition programs, and, in some
cases, financial assistance. Your state historic preservation office should be able to
point you in the direction of a program working in your area.
7. Analyze the
Barns are often demolished if
they are vacant or under-used
and if repair seems too
expensive. Get an independent
assessment of the barn's
condition and to explore repair or
reuse alternatives. New uses can
include a switch in agricultural
focus, commercial space, and
8. Use appropriate preservation tools.
Do any local regulations such as zoning or preservation regulations affect the
current property or a future adaptive reuse? What financial or technical incentives
exist that could help save the barn.
9. Conduct a survey. Seek designation.
Historic resource surveys help you document, record, and articulate the building’s
significance. You can then use this information to push for historic designation and
listing in local, state, or national registers. Such listings can, in turn, unlock
regulatory and promotional perks and financial incentives.
10. Get eyes on
Publicly identifying a barn as
threatened, such as including it on an
endangered list, can help draw
attention to the issue. You can also
attract coverage by inviting reporters
to barn rehabilitation events for
firsthand visuals and interviews.
Another method is to pitch feature
articles about an area’s unique barns
to the local newspaper.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America’s
historic places. Preservation Tips & Tools helps others do the same
in their own communities.
For more information, visit SavingPlaces.org.
Thomas Hawk/Flickr/CC BY NC-2.0;
sahigg/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND-2.0; Elveret
Barnes/Flickr/CC BY-SA-2.0; Jimmy Emerson,
DVM/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND-2.0; James/Flickr/CC
BY-NC-2.0; Phil Roussin/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND-
2.0; Nicholas A. Tonelli/Flickr/CC BY-2.0; Susan
Stienstra/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND-2.0; Jimmy
Emerson, DVM/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND-2.0; Jimmy
Emerson, DVM/Flickr/CC BY-NC-ND-2.0;