Farming is an important influence on how the Vermont countryside looks. Some barns in the state are close to 200 years old. Now there's a plan to inventory exactly how many old barns there are, and what shape they're in.
At the Tunbridge fairgrounds, historic preservationists held workshops for people who want to help study old barns in greater detail than ever before attempted. They met at the Vermont History Expo, which is billed as one of the top ten public events of the year in the Green Mountain State. One classic barn dating back well over a century still stands just down the road.
"Regardless of the age, barns have a significance not only because of architectural style, but for the ways in which they document the change in agricultural practice over time," said Judy Harwood, a historic preservationist and Director of the non-profit, Historic Windsor.
The barn census is a project of the State Division for Historic Preservation and the University of Vermont. Starting in August, hundreds of volunteers will fan out across all 251 Vermont towns and gores, and document each barn. It's clear that they have their work cut out. Experts say Vermont has upwards of 30,000 barns.
Nancy Boone of the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation, said, "We're really hoping that a lot of people volunteer and help us get out there and find out what we have in terms of old barns in Vermont."
This session showed some of the volunteers what to look for. The Division for Historic Preservation says it hopes school and scout groups will get involved in the barn census, so that they can document the historic structures that give Vermont its unique character.
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