header photo

Scenic Wisconsin

An Affiliate of Scenic America


Preservation of Barns

Wisconsin is losing those classic old barns that grace its farmland. Each year we lose some more of those charming old wooden structures to the elements of weather. Unmaintained due to being unused, they deteriorate and are eventually torn down. Without a concerted effort to preserve them, by the year 2050 it will be rare to have the pleasure of seeing one.  

Those historic barns have become icons of Wisconsin’s farming heritage and are worth saving.

Scenic Wisconsin supports all efforts to preserve and re-use our historic barns. Many old barns with their gambrel roofs are charming sites for social events such as weddings and receptions. We support legislation to relax building codes for historic barns so that it would be more practical and affordable for owners to upgrade them to be safe sites for social events. 

Here are some sources of information about preserving historic barns:
UW Extension – Facebook page “Wisconsin Barn Preservation”
Gosh Barn it All – goshbarnitall.com
Portage County Historical Society – The Barn Project of Portage County
Bibliography of Barns and Barn Preservation – learningstore.uwex.edu
National Barn Alliance – barnalliance.org
Wisconsin State Historical Society - wisconsinhistory.org   Income tax credits for rehabilitation of historic buildings

Barn Tour Theme

Barn Tours

Come enjoy a tour of some of the icons of our scenic Wisconsin! Our Barns Preservation Tours are rain or shine and include a presentation on the history and architecture of these amazing buildings, a school bus tour and box lunch with beverages.



Please be sure to dress appropriately for the weather and visiting working farms and remember that we are the guests of our hosts!

If you own a barn or other interesting agricultural building or structure, and might be interested in being a host for one of our tours, please see the Host Information and Host Instructions.

If you or a group would be interested in partnering with CSW in organizing a barns tour in your area, please check out the Local Organizer Guidelines.


Wisconsin Barns

Wisconsin’s iconic barns have come to represent a way of life defined by family, a connection
to the land, ingenuity, and hard work. Experience the state’s beauty and rich history
through these varied and fascinating structures, from the 1840s log barns to grand,
arch-roofed dairy barns.

Writer Nancy Schumm-Burgess and photographer Ernest J. Schweit set out on a two year
quest to document Wisconsin’s historic barns, presented in 107 photographs complimented
by fascinating details about some of the state’s most storied structures.

Forward by Chuck Law, Ph.D. of the UW Extension Barns Preservation Program.

Order books here