2:00 p.m. Sunday, July 29

image of program card

The Betty Strong Encounter Center will present “If Barns Could Talk” with Rich Tyler at 2 p.m. Sunday, July 29. Admission will be free; a reception will follow.

“Old barns are more than just solid functional buildings. They represent the soul of our farming heritage and perhaps more,” says Tyler, a professor in University of Iowa’s

Depts. of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, and Speech Pathology and Audiology.

Tyler will explore the history and current importance of barns. The audience will learn what is happening to old barns and why Iowans should care. He’ll cover a range of questions about old barns: Will metal replace wood?; Can we smell and touch the metal in the same fashion?; What does our interest in barns tell us about ourselves?

“What is a barn, architecturally and emotionally? Barn design was based on experience, needs and ambition. Their function indicated both the farm operation and the farmer’s personal touch,” says Tyler.

Barn construction was a community affair that comprised hard work, huge meals and a barn dance. Few people today have the products of their labor on display for all to see, appreciate and criticize, says Tyler who has been restoring the Secrest farmstead and octagonal barn near West Branch. He has researched the history behind the property, including the golden age of farming, the Great Depression and the architecture of barns.