Iowa Barn Foundation

18 Years of Working To Preserve Iowa's Barns

2016 All-State Barn Tour was held Saturday, Sept 24 & 25, 2016

This is the 16th year of our largest annual tour. Important and historic barns throughout Iowa were opened to the public during the Iowa Barn Foundation’s two-day, self-guided all-state barn tour. It was held Saturday, Sept 24 and Sunday, Sept 25, 8:30am-5:30pm. Click here to take a virtual tour.

And watch for news about our 2017 Spring Tour, and our 2017 All-State Barn Tour in fall 2017.

Rimathe Barn

New for 2016 - Iowa Culture App from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs

Iowa Culture is a mobile app that is a fun and interactive way to discover arts, history and cultural destinations in Iowa. More information on Iowa Culture App.

Iowa Culture App


Everybody has a story

Do you have a story or photos about barns that you would like to share with our Iowa Barn Foundation Magazine readers or our website viewers?  Submit your words, photos, or story ideas to Jacqueline Schmeal, PO Box 111, New Providence, IA 50206.

Report from the 2016 Iowa State Fair

Another great year at the State Fair. Our new display - a barn front holding a computer monitor with a slide show of barns on the Fall Tour was a hit. We could also access the IBF website as well. We had a lot of good comments and a lot of interest and questions about grants for repairing and painting barns.

The left half of the barn shows what it looked like before. The right side shows what it looked like after renovation with the help of an IBF grant.
Iowa State Fair Booth

We handed out over 700 business cards with the dates of the Fall tour and the IBF Website so they could later look up the list of barns on the 2016 Fall Tour. We also gave out over 400+ IBF magazines from previous years.

Thank you to the volunteers who came and sat in the booth to answer questions about grants and the Iowa Barn Foundation. The volunteers this year were: Wayne & Steve Rimathe, Brian Vandewater, John & Mary Ann Boriskey, Rob Vos, Lori Ryner, Pam Hemping, John Bolton, Cheryl Eftink, Jean Wadle, Jamie Hargis, Don Jordahl, Ober Anderson, Andrea Corcoran and Ron and I.

Iowa State Fair Booth

A big thank you to those who worked more than one shift and an extra thank you to Brian Vandewater who came and helped us set up the display before the Fair started.
     Report by Ron and Ginnie, State Fair Booth Coordinators


2016 Spring Tour explored historic barns in the Dubuque area.

The Dubuque County Historic Preservation Commission gave help to enrich this tour which featured early Iowa barns.  Some of the earliest are in that picturesque and nearby counties. This is a area where barns are still highly regarded for their history. The tour was held Saturday, June 25, and Sunday, June 26, from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.  Click here for 2016 Spring Tour details.


News from the Iowa Barn Foundation

   ⚫ Grant amounts increased for Small Barn Painting projects (11-03-15)

  ⚫ The Iowa Barn Foundation is now providing incentives for barn owners to take advantage of tax credits that are available from the federal government and the state of Iowa (Aug 2015).

  ⚫ "Barns: Icons of Our Agricultural Past."  This article about Dubuque Area barns appeared in the July 2015 issue of Julien's Journal (PDF).

  ⚫ REMINDER - The Iowa Barn Foundation has initiated a program to highlight and preserve small barns in Iowa with the Small Barn Painting Project.  IBF members can get 40-percent off on Vogel Paints.

  ⚫ View a video from a WHO-TV newscast. WHO-TV presented a 5-minute feature about restoration of area barns made possible by the Iowa Barn Foundation, on their 10 o'clock newscast, May 20, 2014.


Our primary Mission

Barns, America's symbols of honesty, integrity, and the American dream, are disappearing from Iowa's countryside at a rapid rate.  With mechanized agriculture of today, barns are no longer the center of the farm.

But, they remain poignant reminders of our agricultural heritage.

Founded in 1997, the Iowa Barn Foundation, an all-volunteer, all-state organization, is dedicated to preserving Iowa's rural agricultural buildings.  The Iowa Barn Foundation is an Iowa non-profit corporation with tax-exempt status under paragraph 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.

The primary mission of the Iowa Barn Foundation is to educate the public about the significance and importance of Iowa's barns through the Iowa Barn Foundation Magazine and our Barn Tours.  It raises money to provide barn rehabilitation or restoration matching grants to help property owners restore their barns.

In addition, property owners who use their own funds to restore or rehabilitate barns that would otherwise qualify for a matching grant, are eligible to receive an Iowa Barn Foundation Award of Distinction. Award of Distinction icon  Take a look at some of the restored barns that have been featured on the IBF Barn Tours since 2001.

The Iowa Barn Foundation, in keeping with its mission to preserve Iowa's agricultural heritage, accepts economically and financially self-sustaining farms and farmland.  Through the foundation's farm conservancy, these farms and farmland are saved in perpetuity for agricultural purposes according to the owner's wishes.

We need your help to preserve Iowa's barns!  All of the funds to rehabilitate and restore Iowa's barns come solely from private donations.  Make a donation or become a member of the Iowa Barn Foundation today!

Looking for the perfect holiday cards or gifts?  Check out our Iowa Barn Foundation Store.

Preservation Alerts

(Watch this space for news about historic barns and other important agricultural buildings in Iowa that desperately need your help).

Read a newspaper account of the scheduled dismantling of a barn in September 2013 Ames Tribune.

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© 1997-2016 Iowa Barn Foundation. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without express written permission from the Iowa Barn Foundation.
Updated 12-05-16.


The Iowa Barn Foundation: Helping to preserve Iowa's agricultural heritage one barn at a time.


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Check our Message Board.


Kenneth Ruegsegger, Mount Pleasant

There are those who give their lives trying to make a better society. Kenneth Ruesegger, Mount Pleasant , was one of those. His passing last week was a loss to Iowa, to barns, to America. He was one of those hard working people generous of spirit.

He and his wife, Marilyn, attended a barn tour and saw that signage was minimal. An expert in carpentry, the offered to make signs and take them around the state. So, for many years, Joe created the beautiful directional signs, and he and Marilyn drove from corner to corner of the state personally delivering the handmade signs to owners of barns on tour. It was a huge job--a labor of love.

These were special people who gave time, talent and effort to enrich the Iowa Barn Foundation--to enrich Iowa.

We'll still see some of those lovely signs. And, we will still stop and think of the wonderful couple who dedicated so much time to make the tour, Iowa, even better. We will always be grateful. Thank you, Marilyn and Ken.

Jacqueline Andre Schmeal, President Emeritus


Jason Zabokrsky, Troy Mills, wrote:

"Barns symbolize the agricultural heritage of those who founded the state of Iowa. That agricultural heritage is synonymous with important values. These values include dedication to hard work, honesty, integrity, family, and community...

...As barns are destroyed a valuable part of our heritage is also lost. If Iowans lost these historic barns from the landscape, one may posit that Iowans will begin to lose sight of the important values of hard work, honesty, integrity, family, and community which they represent."