Smithsonian Barn Again! exhibit comes to town

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Barn Again!, the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, will open at the Carson Valley Museum & Cultural Center on Tuesday.

The exhibit commemorating 2003 as the Year of the Barn runs through Sept. 29.

The exhibit is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and costs $3 for adults and $2 for children.

Director of Museums Mary Ellen Conaway said the Barn Again! exhibit is especially important to Carson Valley.

"Carson Valley has lots of historic barns and ranches and an agricultural heritage," Conaway said. "It's a cool exhibit that tells the history of barns, their importance and what has happened to barns in our country."

Museum volunteers and staff attended training in April to prepare for the traveling exhibition, she said. The exhibit arrived last week and volunteers spent Thursday and Friday unpacking and installing the components.

Arranged through the Nevada Humanities Commission, the Year of the Barn has made a "tremendous impact" to the museum.

"It is very positive," Conaway said. "It is documentation for our archives. It helped bring in local artifacts and helped us write a book on the pictorial history of barns."

The exhibition service brings the finest treasures from the Smithsonian's collections to communities across the nation.

Barn Again! gives visitors new ways to consider a familiar icon, according to the Smithsonian Institute, the nation's largest museum.

The exhibit claims barns are more than buildings saying they are witness to centuries of change.

The exhibition surveys agricultural changes that led to architectural adaptations on the farm, following major movements in American history such as 19th-century European immigration and westward migration.

Industrial farming in the 20th century rendered many traditional barns obsolete because they cannot accommodate the enormous machinery and harvests of today's large-scale farms.

The exhibit explores the use and meaning of barns in all segments of American life, from agricultural to their use in advertising.

A send-off party to the traveling exhibit starts at 5 p.m. Sept. 30, at the museum. Conaway said poets Linda Hussa and well-known cowboy poet Hal Swift of Reno will entertain from 6-9 p.m., along with a singing group of three bald men, called Too Tall for Our Hair.

The event is free, although donations are welcome.

A few more related exhibits are also shown at the museum. Dairies of Carson Valley, a barn art exhibit, and Sagebrush Vernacular, featuring black and white photographs depicting Nevada rural scenes are also showcased.

There are several more events planned to coincide with Year of the Barn, Conaway said. A barn dance/fund-raiser at The Corley Ranch in south Gardnerville, is from 5-11 p.m., Sept. 13. It will include music by the Back Forty band, a silent auction, barbecue, no-host bar, and a live auction, emceed by comedian Kat Simmons. Tickets are $35 per person and are available at the museum, Genoa Courthouse Museum, and at Copies Plus in Gardnerville.

Conaway said the museum will also auction off its local barn exhibit at 3 p.m. Dec. 7.

For information, call the museum at 782-2555.


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