Photographic Exhibition Showcases Barns In Michigan

News Release by Michigan West Coast Chamber of Commerce

January 11, 2019: The beauty of Michigan’s barns is revealed through a photographer’s eyes in the new exhibition at the Holland Museum.

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.

The Holland Museum celebrates these traditional landmarks with a new exhibition from the Michigan State University Museum and the Michigan Barn Preservation Network. Opening January 17 and on exhibit through June 30, 2019, visitors can learn about these community pillars and experience the beautiful photographs. A special Museum Member Reception will be held Thursday, January 24. Information on becoming a member can be found at

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. Her book Heritage Barns: Michigan Photographs has recently been published by Michigan State University Press.

Michigan’s Heritage Barns showcases the artistry of these traditional structures to increase awareness of their potential and the value of preserving them.

This exhibit will be on display in the Holland Museum’s Focus Gallery. Admission is included with museum admission or membership. This exhibit is sponsored by Chemical Bank. Click here for more exhibit information.

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.