Documenting Barns

Documenting Historic Barns

 Why document barns?


The physical form of an old barn tells a lot about local history and the people who used it. Construction techniques and agricultural practices over time vary by region and state, therefore, barns provide distinct clues to both! In this way, barns reflect important cultural traditions that have fundamentally shaped our real landscape.


view from Joy FarmThe NBA is concerned with the long-term preservation of historic barns and other rural buildings.  Assistance and information regarding barn survey and preservation, agricultural architecture and history, and rural heritage conservation can be found on this page as well as on our Fix a Barn (link) page.


Survey a Barn Using the NBA Farmstead Survey Form

Each State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) maintains an inventory of historic properties, but not many SHPOs don’t have barn-specific survey forms. So the NBA created one of their own! This form may be used as a precursor to official SHPO surveys, but does not replace them. View Survey Form. Helpful Survey Info National Park Service Preservation Brief #20- The Preservation of Historic Barns


State by State Survey Information

This comprehensive and detailed list is organized by state and highlights resources available to assist in barn survey, identification, and research. Helpful links from federal agencies and academic institutions regarding topics such as barn repair and grant programs, rural heritage conservation, and agricultural history are also provided.


Survey Examples

Looking for an example to get you started? Or want to read about some amazing barns? Check out these sample surveys from a variety of sources, including universities, the non-profit sector, and government agencies.


Additional Links for Further Study

Check out these great resources to learn more about barn preservation and documenting historic agricultural buildings.


Barn Documentation How To