Michigan’s Heritage Barns: An Artist’s Perspective

January 25−June 30, 2019

The beauty of Michigan’s barns is revealed through a photographer’s eyes in the exhibition, Michigan’s Heritage Barns: An Artist’s Perspective (photographs by Mary Keithan).

Prominent on the landscape throughout Michigan, traditional barns are visible reminders of our agricultural legacy. The seemingly endless variety of barn shapes, sizes, details, and uses reflects the rich diversity of farmers and farming in Michigan. Gothic, gambrel, or gable roofs; hay hoods, cupolas, and dormers; granary, milk house, silo, and windmill–all are a record of our agricultural heritage and clues to understanding it.

Traditional barns are more than just evidence of our history. They are regional landmarks, evoking a unique sense of place. Built with time-tested designs, superior materials, and high standards of workmanship, these barns were made to last forever. In turn, they sustained generations. Maintenance, adaptation for continuing use, and preservation are our challenges for the future.

Michigan’s Heritage Barns is an exhibition of 22 black and white barn photographs from artist Mary Keithan. In the spring of 1990, Keithan took an interest in the aged wooden barns of Michigan and began to capture them on film with her 8 x 10 field camera. Michigan’s one-room schoolhouses and lighthouses have also captured her interest. Mary has sought out hundreds of these icons, recording them so that others may view them before they are lost to the ravages of time or the elements. A native of rural Pennsylvania, Keithan is a resident of northern Macomb County, Michigan. A painter and photographer, she has received degrees in fine art from Pennsylvania State University and Hunter College (New York City). Her bookHeritage Barns: Michigan Photographshas recently been published by Michigan State University Press.

The Michigan Barn Preservation Network and Michigan State University Museum present artist/photographer Mary Keithan’s barn portraits. Michigan’s Heritage Barns showcases the artistry of these traditional structures to increase awareness of their potential and the value of preserving them.

The Michigan Barn Preservation Network (MBPN) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting appreciation, preservation, and rehabilitation of Michigan barns, farmsteads, and rural communities. MBPN holds an annual conference in March; publishes a quarterly newsletter; and, in cooperation with MSU Museum
and the George and Matilda Noyer Leik Foundation, produces The Barn Journal: on-lineat <http://museum.msu.edu/barn>.

Founded in 1857, the Michigan State University Museum is one of Michigan’s most popular natural and cultural history museums. The Michigan State University Museum’s Traveling Exhibition Service provides affordable exhibitions for museums and organizations both in and out of Michigan. Over two dozen traveling exhibits are available and represent a variety of Michigan’s natural and cultural resources, from quilts to Native American arts.

Exhibit sponsored by




This traveling exhibition is an Agricultural Heritage Program activity of the Michigan State University Museum. It is made possible with the generous financial and in-kind support of the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund, Michigan Barn Preservation Network, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, Michigan Humanities Council, and National Endowment for the Humanities.

Holland Museum

The Holland Museum tells the story of Holland, Michigan, from its founding by Dutch immigrants to today’s innovative, successful, and diverse community. Featuring thousands of fascinating historic objects, the Permanent Galleries are not to be missed. Also on display are the Dutch Galleries, featuring artwork from the Netherlands from the 1600s through the 1900s.

$7.00 for adults, $6.00 for seniors, and $4.00 for students. Holland Museum members and children ages five and under are free.

Monday: Open every second Monday starting July 9: 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. FREE Admission!  Please view our calendar to check Monday’s we are open.
Wednesday-Saturday: 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Sunday (mid-May-September only): 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Spark!Lab Hours
Monday:             Open the 2nd Monday of each month, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday:             Closed
Wednesday:      12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Thursday:           12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Friday:                12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Saturday:           11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Closed in observance of these holidays:
Thanksgiving Day, November 22, 2018: Closed.
Christmas Eve, December 24, 2018: Closed
Christmas Day, December 25, 2018: Closed
New Years Eve, December 31, 2018: Closed
New Years Day, January 1, 2019: Closed

The Museum has a handicapped accessible entrance on the east side of the building next to the circle drive. To access the building, please press the button to the right of the door and the front desk will buzz visitors in. Take the elevator from the ground floor (G) to the first level (1L) and you will arrive behind the reception desk. There is also a wheelchair available for patron use. Each level of the museum is handicapped accessible, as are the restrooms. If you have any specific needs, please call the front desk at (616) 796-3329.

The Holland Museum is located at the corner of 10th Street and River Avenue, across from Centennial Park. Please use the parking lot behind the museum on 9th Street or street parking is available along 10th Street. Handicap accessibility is available from the east side of building.

Blue Star Museum
We are a Blue Star Museum and offer free admission to active military and their families from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day Weekend.

Museum Building Rentals
For information about Museum building rentals, please contact David Hawley-Lowry at dhawley@hollandmuseum.org

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