State moves to inventory old barns

RUTLAND The state is looking for a few good Vermonters to help save its iconic barns. Officials with the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation are hoping that people interested in these structures will come to a series of workshops this Saturday at the Vermont History Expo in Tunbridge to learn more and volunteer to help count and document the states barns. Were really trying to answer basic questions about Vermonts barns, said Nancy Boone, state architectural historian with the division. How many barns are there and what kind of condition are they in? Are we losing significant numbers each year? And what can be done to preserve these symbols of our history and landscape? The goal of the Vermont Barn Census is to carry out, for the first time, a statewide inventory of Vermonts barns that will lay the foundation for further efforts to preserve them. The project will recruit volunteers in all of Vermonts 251 towns to identify barns and other agricultural outbuildings in their communities and will occur mainly over several highly publicized weekends in the summer and fall of 2008 and spring and fall of 2009. Volunteers will canvass areas, taking photographs and some notes about barn features, history, use and condition in the field, and then submitting the data over the web. Students from elementary to high school will be welcomed to participate. The first Barn Census weekend will be Aug. 2-3, Boone said. A series of workshops to help educate the public and participants as well as generate enthusiasm for the project will be held Saturday starting at 11 a.m. at the Vermont History Expo on the Tunbridge Worlds Fair Grounds. Afterward, there will be Open Barn Reception for Barn Census volunteers and guests at the Justin Smith Morrill Homestead in Strafford from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. A second training program is planned for fall in the Middlebury area. For more information, visit the Division for Historic Preservation site at: www.historicvermont.org or call Mike Plummer, (802) 828-1220. If you plan to attend the workshops register by e-mail at histwininc@valley.net

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