Historic Preservation Standards.

Preserving a barn does not mean turning it into a museum or something that cannot be used or changed. It does not mean that the barn can only be used or adapted one way. Preserving a barn means finding a use that will help make its upkeep worthwhile. It also means taking a conservative approach to needed repairs and changes rather than doing quick-fixes or using new materials simply because they are advertised to be better and supposedly maintenance-free.

The common-sense approach to preserving barns described here is based on the national guidelines for preserving historic buildings, which are called "The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation." These standards are always to be applied taking into account the economic and technical feasibility of any work to be done. Although expressed in the vocabulary of historic preservation and design professionals, the standards are still remarkably direct in spelling out what makes sense and what does not when you are fixing a historic building. When professionals say that work on barns should meet these standards, they are saying that the work should follow the approach to barn preservation described in this web site.

© 1995 Vermont Division for Historic Preservation and Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. All rights reserved.

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation

1. A property shall be used as it was historically or be given a new use that requires minimal change to its distinctive materials, features, spaces, and spatial relationships.

2. The historic character of a property shall be retained and preserved. The removal of distinctive materials or alteration of features, spaces, spatial relationships that characterize a property shall be avoided.

3. Each property shall be recognized as a physical record of its time, place, and use. Changes that create a false sense of historical development, such as adding conjectural features or elements from other historic properties, shall not be undertaken.

4. Changes to a property that have acquired historic significance in their own right shall be retained and preserved.

5. Distinctive materials, features, finishes, and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property shall be preserved.

6. Deteriorated historic features shall be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature shall match the old in design, color, texture, and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features shall be substantiated by documentary and physical evidence.

7. Chemical or physical treatments, if appropriate, shall be undertaken using the gentlest means possible. Treatments that cause damage to historic materials shall not be used.

8. Archeological resources shall be protected and preserved in place. If such resources must be disturbed, mitigation measures shall be undertaken.

9. New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction shall not destroy historic materials, features, and spatial relationships that characterize the property. The new work shall be differentiated from the old and shall be compatible with the historic materials, features, size, scale and proportion, and massing to protect the integrity of the property and its environment.

10. New additions and adjacent or related new construction shall be undertaken in such a manner that, if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.

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