Historic Gettysburg – Adams County (HGAC) has been preserving historic barns for more than 15 years and knows that surveying these structures – and telling their stories – is important. The South Mountain Partnership (SMP) recognizes this too, and that is why they awarded HGAC a Mini-Grant to update and develop its barn survey program.
The grant program, funded through the SMP and the Commonwealth’s Environmental Stewardship Fund, helped to make the bold and innovative project possible. The project added barns to the Adams County Barn Registry, upgraded data collection and management processes, trained new volunteers, and created a Barn Survey Training Manual that includes photographs, drawings, and historic barn information so that other communities and agencies can learn and create their own barn survey and preservation programs. The project will lead to better promotion and preservation of these historic resources throughout the South Mountain region and across Pennsylvania. The State Historic Preservation Office is interested in sharing the project with local governments and communities throughout Pennsylvania.
“The Manual will be an essential educational and interpretive tool for the effective sharing of knowledge with preservation groups and barn enthusiasts throughout the South Mountain region and beyond”, said Curt Musselman, Founding Executive Director of the HGAC Barn Preservation Project & Grant Program.
“Our committee chose this project because of HGAC’s past successes and the need to preserve resources like historic barns,” said Katie Hess, Director of the SMP. “The Pennsylvania bank barn is a trademark and legacy. Only a handful of places in the country still have their family farms and historic barns – and our region is one of the last places with a collection of Pennsylvania bank barns. Without the barns, our region’s character wouldn’t be the same. Unique experiences and places drive tourism, and our region’s tourism economy is growing. Tourism offices are promoting historic barns along with agritourism and heritage tourism. That helps our economy and can be a tool that keeps agricultural land in farming. It’s a win-win.”
HGAC surpassed its goal of adding 100 barns to the Adams County Barn Registry: instead, adding 107. For each barn added, entries included photographs, maps, measurements, and other observations. It was a lot of work, as HGAC typically does 20 barn surveys a year, but they did it and are now encouraging other organizations across Pennsylvania to survey their historic barns and share the stories with residents and tourists alike.
The South Mountain Partnership’s Mini-Grant Program was developed in 2009 to assist local governments, non-profits, and universities with on-the-ground projects that further the goals of the Partnership and to advance the capacity of partners. The Program provides funding on a competitive basis to projects that protect and promote the region’s farmland, historic places, and natural and recreation assets that sustain a high quality of life. Pre-applications to the 2021 funding round are due Friday, May 28, 2021. For more information about the Mini-Grant Program, past grantees, and how to apply, please visit https://southmountainpartnership.org.