Virtual Presentation

NBA Virtual Lecture #6: The English Barn in America

Posted by on Oct 8, 2021 in Agricultural Architecture, barn education, Barn Preservation, New England barns, Virtual Presentation | Comments Off on NBA Virtual Lecture #6: The English Barn in America

Please join us for the next lecture in a series of presentations led by experienced practitioners across the country in support of barn-preservation education on November 3rd, 2021 at 6 pm EST.

This lecture will be hosted via Zoom and is free to all who register.
To register, send an email to RSVP with your name and location (city/county, state) to info@barnalliance.org by Sunday, October 31st. We will send an email with the details to call or login to all registrants on November 2nd, 2021.


November 3rd: “The English Barn: in America: an Introduction to its Layout and Carpentry”

Presenter: Jack A. Sobon

Common throughout most of the Northeastern United States, the English barn was the standard for barns from the earliest settlements up through the mid-nineteenth century.  Mr. Sobon will discuss its origins, its layout and use, and an in-depth look at its carpentry.  The intricacies of the older Scribe Rule system of timber layout and cutting brought here from Britain will be explained as well as the newer Square Rule method that replaced it.

Image of Three-Bay, Side-Entrance Barn (Photo: J. Sobon).
The image above is from “Historic American Timber Joinery: A Graphic Guide,” written and illustrated by Jack A. Sobon, and originally published by the Timber Framers Guild (2002; reprinted 2004).

Jack A. Sobon

Mr. Sobon is an architect and builder in Western Massachusetts that specializes in timber-framed buildings, both old and new.  Since the late 1970s, he has framed over 50 timber-framed structures using only traditional hand tools and often right from the forest.  He has four books to his credit including Historic American Timber Joinery (2002) and Hand Hewn, The Traditions, Tools, and Enduring Beauty of Timber Framing (2019).  He is also the author of a five-article series on The English Barn in America published in Timber Framing where he chronicles the construction of a classic three-bay English timber-framed barn using original construction methods.

Image of Jack Sobon courtesy of Workman Publishing Company

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NBA Virtual Lecture #5: New England Barns & Farm Buildings

Posted by on May 19, 2021 in Agricultural Architecture, barn education, Barn Preservation, New England barns, Virtual Presentation | Comments Off on NBA Virtual Lecture #5: New England Barns & Farm Buildings

Join us for the next lecture in a series of presentations led by experienced practitioners across the country in support of barn-preservation education on May 26th, 2021 at 6 pm EST.

This lecture will be hosted via Zoom and is free to all who register.
To register, send an email to RSVP with your name and location (city/county, state) to info@barnalliance.org by Sunday, May 23rd. We will send an email with the details to call or login to all registrants on May 25th, 2021.

“New England Barns & Farm Buildings”

Presenter: Thomas D. Visser

Keywords: New England Agriculture, Historic Barn Types, Historic Construction Methods and Materials, Barn and Outbuilding Terminology, Documentation

IIn 1997 Thomas Visser published his book, Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings based on his years of research documentation and site visits assisting owners with planning the preservation of historic farm buildings in the northeast region of the country. Although his book detailed historic farm buildings from just six states in the union, Visser’s work described construction methods, materials, and forms to provide a broader view of how the practice of agriculture shaped the appearance of barns and outbuildings throughout the country.

This presentation will discuss barn types and construction, as well as examine the ways in which farm buildings detail a rich rural heritage worthy of preservation. Building upon the information in his publication, the presentation will also highlight some of the many challenges barns and farm buildings face in the twenty-first century.

Detail of Cover, Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings.

Thomas D. Visser

Thomas D. Visser, Professor of Historic Preservation, is the director of the graduate Historic Preservation Program in the Department of History at the University of Vermont. He has taught courses at UVM since 1985 on such topics as historic preservation planning and policy, researching historic buildings, architectural conservation, history of American building technology, and other historic preservation topics.

As a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant award, much of Thomas Visser’s scholarly research has focused on the preservation of vernacular architecture. His award-winning Field Guide to New England Barns and Farm Buildings was published by the University Press of New England.

His latest book, Porches of North America, examines how this remarkable building feature in its many forms and uses has evolved in the United States and Canada. It is also published by the University Press of New England in hardcover and as an e-book.

Learn more about Dr. Visser and his work from the University of Vermont’s website here!

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NBA Virtual Lecture #4: Historic Barns of Shenandoah County, Virginia

Posted by on Feb 17, 2021 in Agricultural Architecture, barn education, Barn Preservation, Virtual Presentation | Comments Off on NBA Virtual Lecture #4: Historic Barns of Shenandoah County, Virginia

Join us for the next lecture in a series of presentations led by experienced practitioners across the country in support of barn-preservation education on February 25th, 2021 at 6 pm EST.

This lecture will be hosted via Zoom and is free to all who register.
To register, send an email to RSVP with your name and location (city/county, state) to info@barnalliance.org by Sunday, February 21st. We will send an email with the details to call or login to all registrants on February 23rd, 2021.
“Historic Barns of Shenandoah County, Virginia”

Presenter: John Adamson

Keywords: Shenandoah Valley Agriculture, Historic Barn Types, Historic Construction Methods, Barn Terminology, County-level Survey/ Documentation

From 2017 until the present, Mr. Adamson has surveyed over 270 surviving barns in Shenandoah County. This program is a photo essay depicting barns of Shenandoah County built before 1950 and the agriculture those barns served.

Using the Shenandoah County Historical Society’s photographic archives, images of traditional agricultural scenes and practices from the 1910s and 1920s are followed by a description of the types of barns constructed in Shenandoah County from earliest settlement in the 18th century until approximately 1950.

Drawing on the photographic and data records of his survey work, Adamson’s program presents a rich pictorial review of the iconic barns still found in the county. It also includes a brief discussion of the cultural roots of Shenandoah County agriculture and barn architecture, presenting basic barn terminology and construction methods.
Photo Credit: John Adamson, Shenandoah County Barn Survey Project.

John Adamson

John Adamson currently serves as the Program Manager for the Shenandoah County Historical Society’s (SCHS) Historic Barns Program and was elected to the National Barn Alliance’s Board of Directors in 2020.
Born and raised in Arlington, Virginia, Adamson is a graduate of Virginia Tech and the University of Richmond where his studies centered on statistics and business. He lived and worked for C&P, Bell Atlantic/Verizon in Richmond, Culpeper, and Fairfax County before retiring to Strasburg with his wife, Barbara in 1998.  

John has long had an interest in history in general, military history in particular, and in Kentucky long rifles. Since coming to Shenandoah County he has developed great interest in Shenandoah County history, local architecture, and the material culture of the Shenandoah Valley.  

In addition to volunteering with the SCHS and NBA, John serves on the Board of the Strasburg Museum and Belle Grove, Inc., a National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) property. He is also a member of the Citizen’s Advisory Committee on the Shenandoah County Comprehensive Plan.

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NBA Virtual Lecture #3

Posted by on Oct 16, 2020 in Agricultural Architecture, barn education, Virtual Presentation | Comments Off on NBA Virtual Lecture #3

Join us for the next lecture in a series of presentations led by experienced practitioners across the country in support of barn-preservation education! This lecture will be hosted via Zoom and is free to all who register.

To register, send an email to RSVPwith your name and location (city/county, state) to info@barnalliance.org by Sunday, October 25th. We will send an email with the details to call or login to all registrants on October 27th


“Oklahoma’s Historic Barns”

Presenter: Dr. Brad Bays

Keywords: Barn Types, Upland South Culture, Native American Agriculture, Historic Construction Methods, Barn Survey, NRHP Evaluation, Criteria A and C

Historic barns in Oklahoma are disappearing for a variety of reasons, yet they serve as the most vivid, multigenerational markers of local landscapes, reminding us of the inevitability of economic, technological, environmental, and cultural changes which all places undergo.

Between 2009 and 2014, Brad Bays conducted a survey of the state’s historic barns for the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation Office and the Oklahoma Historical Society. The OK/SHPO’s objective was to document at least 10 historic barns in each county over the span of five years.

Five years later, Brad had logged around 55,000 miles, mostly on county roads, in each of the state’s 77 counties. He had visited more than 5,000 sites and documented just under 1,000 properties for the Oklahoma Landmarks Inventory (OLI), the state’s archive of properties that are National Register-eligible or warrant further study for possible NR listing. Of these, about 100 properties were deemed NR-eligible. The experience had taken him to every corner of every county in the state, and better awakened him to Oklahoma’s substantial diversity. This presentation will provide a geographical overview of the forms and materials of Oklahoma’s surviving historic barns.

The survey discovered rare types of barns not previously known to exist, as well as yet-unclassified types. Log barns of every type can be found throughout the former Indian Territory, and they reflect cultural ties to the Upland South and the effects of prolonged inaccessibility. Native stone and masonry barns are found clustered in pockets around the state, and bank barns tend to be associated with ethnic German settlement. 


Brad Bays is Associate Professor of Geography at Oklahoma State University. He holds a BA from Oklahoma State University (1989), an MS from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville (1991), and a PhD from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (1996), all in Geography. He has been on the faculty at Oklahoma State University since 1995. His research and teaching interests center on the historical geography and agricultural history of the southern Great Plains, especially his home state of Oklahoma.

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NBA Virtual Lecture #2

Posted by on Sep 15, 2020 in Agricultural Architecture, barn education, Barn Preservation, Books, New England barns, Virtual Presentation | Comments Off on NBA Virtual Lecture #2

Join us for another presentation in support of barn-preservation education

This free lecture will be hosted via Zoom and is open to anyone with an interest in learning more about historic barns!

It will be held Wednesday, September 30th at 6 pm EST and is entitled, “The History of Agriculture as Told by Barns.” See the description below for details.

To register for this event, send an email to RSVP with your name and location (city/county, state) to info@barnalliance.org by Sunday, September 27th. We will send an email with the details to call or login to all registrants on September 29th.

(If you missed our first lecture, be sure to check it out here!)


September 30th: “The History of Agriculture as Told by [New England] Barns”

Presenter: John C. Porter

Keywords: New England Agriculture, Barn Types, Timber-Framing/Historic Construction Methods, NRHP Evaluation and Criterion A

The evolution of barn architecture tells the story of New Hampshire agriculture. Barns changed from the early English style, to Yankee style, to gambrel and then pole barns to accommodate the changing agriculture. This presentation will be a chronological walk through time, with photo illustrations of barns around the state that are examples of these eras of agricultural history. 

This lecture is geared towards architects, engineers, preservation contractors, cultural resource professionals who may not be familiar with barns and general barn enthusiasts, everyone can learn from this exploration of historic farm buildings!


John C. Porter was raised on a dairy farm in Lebanon, New Hampshire. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a B.S. Degree in Animal Science, and then went on to get a master’s degree from Cornell University in Animal Nutrition and Farm Management. Later he earned a master’s degree from Bob Jones University in Education Administration. He served as a Dairy Specialist for the UNH Cooperative Extension from 1974 until his retirement in 2006. He still works part-time for UNH and operates his own consulting company, Farm Planning Services, LLC. 

In 2001, he co-authored the book “Preserving Old Barns”; in December of 2007, was editor and contributing author of “The History and Economics of the New Hampshire Dairy Industry”; and in 2011 wrote the agriculture chapter for the Concord History book, “Crosscurrents of Change”. In 2019 he published a second edition of the Preserving Old Barns book.

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