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!

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.

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.

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.

NBA Launches Virtual Barn Preservation Lecture Series

Join us for a series of virtual presentations led by experienced practitioners across the country in support of barn-preservation education

All lectures will be hosted via Zoom and are free to attend – open to anyone with an interest in learning more about historic barns!

The first presentation in our series – to be held Wednesday, August 12th at 6 pm EST – is entitled, “How to Speak Barn: the Language and Nuances of Barn Anatomy and the Language We Use to Describe Them.” 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, August 9th. We will send an email with the details to call or login to all registrants on August 11th.


August 12th: “How to Speak Barn: the Language and Nuances of Barn Anatomy and the Language We Use to Describe Them”

Presenters: Jeffrey L. Marshall and Michael Cuba

Keywords: Barn Terminology, Barn Types, Outbuilding Identification, Timber-Framing/Historic Construction Methods and Techniques, NRHP-Evaluation, Criterion C

Working in preservation in an agricultural context requires uncommon expertise. Barns and other farm buildings require a specialized vocabulary and a working knowledge of the historical evolution of design and use. Learn the lingo, how to recognize change, and how to evaluate and describe elements necessary for National Register designation.

The language used to characterize our barns has varied from person to person and publication to publication over the centuries. Efforts to develop a coherent and unified way of describing these buildings have come far over the past few decades.

This lecture will explore appropriate terminology and the precedents that support this language. The more familiar we become with common nomenclature, the more effectively we are able to share our observations with one another and the easier it is to evaluate particular barns in context with similar barns.

Although 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!


Jeffrey L. Marshall serves as President of the Heritage Conservancy based in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, leading its efforts to conserve and preserve more than 15,000 acres of open space, farmland, wildlife habitat, and important watershed areas, along with many cultural historic assets in Bucks and Montgomery counties. Jeff has over 40 years of combined experience in land protection and historic preservation, and has authored several books on the architecture of southeastern Pennsylvania.
He has been a leader on the National Barn Alliance board of directors for over 10 years, serving as Vice President, President, and currently as Past President. He also serves on the boards of the Historic Barn & Farm Foundation of Pennsylvania and Preservation Pennsylvania.

Michael Cuba is a co-founder of Knobb Hill Joinery, a historic preservation company in northern Vermont focused on traditional restorative joinery techniques. He also operates Transom HPC, a small consulting firm offering dendrochronology coring services, research, and documentation for historic timbered structures. 
Michael is an active member of the Traditional Timber Framer’s Research and Advisory Group. He has served in various leadership capacities with the Timber Framers Guild and currently serves as editor, along with Adam Miller, of the Guild’s quarterly journal, TIMBER FRAMING.
In 2019 Michael was elected to serve as the secretary of the National Barn Alliance’s board of directors.