Wisconsin Barns: Stewards of Our Values and Dynamic Cultural Landscapes
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Wisconsin is rooted in the agrarian rural landscape. We can make this identification while driving anywhere in the state and seeing the numerous farms adjacent to the highway or on license plates of passing cars. Barns are perhaps the most iconic symbol of this agricultural richness, earning this appointment because of their significance within the context of the farm. Sadly, the number of farms in Wisconsin is decreasing, and barns subsequently follow. While barn preservation projects do exist, the more common outcome is neglect and eventually demolition. Our project examines two barn stories in southern Wisconsin in order to discover the factors which favor barn preservation. The Thomas Stone Barn, in Iowa County, has been beautifully preserved and still functions today. The Dougan Round Barn, in Rock County, lies in a state of neglect and is scheduled to be demolished in the near future. By contrasting these two very different narratives, we establish the factors that foster preservation, and thereby cultural values.