If you were lucky enough to have attended the 33rd Annual Statewide Preservation Conference in Marquette last May you may have witnessed one of the best examples of team work ever demonstrated. While I would love to claim it was the effort put forth by the Conference Planning Committee, I would be over looking the contribution to Vendor’s Showcase by the Michigan Barn Preservation Network and a group of local residents.
Late in the day on Thursday, May 9th, the 11 members of a local 4H group and their parents gathered in the Vendor’s Showcase for one of the most interesting experiences of their lives. Under the direction of Vera Wiltse and Steve Stier from the Michigan Barn Preservation Network, the quarter size timber frame barn was erected, between a display by the MSU Extension Office and a group of preservationists working to save part of the Western Michigan University campus from demolition by the University.
It was more than just about the fun of the experience, because participants learned terminology – what is a brace, a post, a plate, and a bent. All explained and used over and over during the construction; they had to do math to understand the scale of the barn and deal with the angles needed to make the barn stand at the end; and most importantly, they learned teamwork. For each bent, a team leader was selected among the students, who then assigned people to different tasks. Students positioned (and sometimes repositioned several times) each component of the frame to erect the barn components.
From plate to rafter the barn was erected in under three hours – when everyone gathered for the photo opportunity – and to smile with pride over a job well done!
The barn was commissioned by the National Barn Alliance with a grant via assistance from Russ Mawby.
To learn more about how you can work with the Michigan Barn Preservation Network (MBPN) to erect the traditional timber frame barn check out their website. You can also see more from the MBPN in 2014, when they join us for the 34th Annual Conference in Jackson, Michigan!
CREDITS & THANKS TO OUR SPONSORS
The design and construction of this ¼ size 19th century barn timber frame
model has been funded by a grant from the Arnesby-Russ Mawby Fund of the
Battle Creek Community Foundation. The National Barn Alliance owns the
model and it is on loan to the Michigan Barn Preservation Network.