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Kentucky Heritage Council
National Barn Alliance Annual Conference May 14-16 at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill

Press Release Date:  Friday, February 20, 2009  
Contact Information:  Diane Comer
(502) 564-7005 Ext. 120

FRANKFORT, Ky. – Preservation Kentucky and the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office will co-host the 2009 Annual Conference of the National Barn Alliance May 14-16 at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill.  The National Barn Alliance has members throughout the United States who provide guidance and leadership for barn preservation and rural heritage.

On May 14 an opening reception will take place at Shaker Landing along the Kentucky River.  May 15 the conference will feature educational sessions, and the program May 16 will include guided tours of local and regional barns.  The 2009 conference will be the first time the National Barn Alliance has met in Kentucky.

Along with speakers from across the country, this conference will feature work the Kentucky Crossroads Rural Heritage Development Initiative (RHDI) has been doing throughout central Kentucky to protect and promote barn and farm preservation.  The RHDI is a three-year demonstration program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, directed by Preservation Kentucky in cooperation with the Kentucky Heritage Council.  In addition to highlighting RHDI achievements, the conference will feature networking opportunities for trades people, farm owners and anyone interested in preserving barns and historic farm buildings. 

"This is a great opportunity to showcase Kentucky’s rural landscape to a group of people who are interested in historic barns.  The alliance will also bring a lot of expertise that farm owners will be able to utilize for their own barns," said Joanna Hinton, Executive Director of Preservation Kentucky. 

In preparation for the conference, a statewide barn preservation working group has been meeting to discuss ways Kentucky can help preserve historic barns and outbuildings.  Barn preservation groups are located in over 20 states and help bring awareness to the importance of preserving historic barns and agricultural outbuildings, many of which are cultural icons representing rural areas.  Following the conference, the Kentucky Barn Preservation Advisory Committee will work to raise greater awareness of these structures and the diversity of barn types in Kentucky, as well as create educational tools, advocacy and technical support.  

Many times historic barns and outbuildings can be effectively re-used for farming operations.  The RHDI is working with farm owners in Washington and Boyle Counties to find new uses for several structures and obtain historic preservation tax credits. In Washington County, a farm owner is transforming his former tobacco barn into a tasting room and showroom for his new vineyard operation.  To aid this transition, architectural design work has been completed and the property has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places, with plans to apply for federal and state historic preservation tax credits.  This project will be used as a case study by the state barn preservation committee to educate owners of other historic farm buildings about historic preservation incentives for re-use of agricultural buildings.

The RHDI is also working collaboratively with the University of Kentucky’s Department of Landscape Architecture to develop design guidelines for rural areas, creating important reference materials for barn and outbuilding preservation.  Funded through a grant from the federal Preserve America program, these guidelines will assist property owners and communities to appropriately rehabilitate rural structures for new economically productive functions, develop additional land areas for community growth that provide alternatives to the fragmentation of rural cultural landscapes, and build new buildings compatible with the historic character of their regions.

The goal of the Rural Heritage Development Initiative has been to help develop and implement preservation-based economic development strategies in the eight-county central Kentucky area of Boyle, Green, LaRue, Marion, Mercer, Nelson, Taylor and Washington. Now concluding its work, the initiative has been funded largely through a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  For more information, visit  For more information about the National Barn Alliance, visit

Conference registration information will be available online March 1.  Registration is $75 prior to April 15 or $95 after that date and includes the opening reception, three meals and educational sessions.  Tours will be an additional fee.
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Preservation Kentucky is a membership-based, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Kentucky's historic resources through education and advocacy.  Preservation Kentucky provides an important link between the public and private sector and between local communities, state government, and national government and organizations.  Education opportunities are offered throughout the year on timely and import preservation topics.  PK also helps monitor and promote preservation-friendly legislation at the local, state, and federal levels.  By working for the restoration and adaptive reuse of historic properties today, the economic benefits of historic preservation will help to safeguard the unique Kentucky landscape for future generations.

An agency of the Kentucky Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office is responsible for the identification, protection and preservation of historic buildings, sites and cultural resources throughout the Commonwealth, in partnership with other state and federal agencies, local communities and interested citizens.  This mission is integral to making communities more livable and has a far-ranging impact on issues as diverse as economic development, jobs creation, affordable housing, tourism, community revitalization, environmental conservation and quality of life.


Last Updated 2/20/2009