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Craft in Focus New York

demonstration | Dutch Barn model

- Saturday June 3 & Sunday June 4
Factory Floor
free of charge

One of the interesting still visible traces of Dutch cultural heritage in New Netherlands is the presence of Dutch houses and Dutch barns. At the festival you can learn about the specific historical Dutch way of construction in wood, by helping assemble a Dutch barn model. This is an opportunity to gain hands-on experience and see first-hand the construction and structural principles employed in a traditional heavy timber structure.


There are 130 pieces. The model is owned by the National Barn Alliance and is on loan to the Dutch Barn Preservation Society. The Dutch Barn Preservation Society brings the quarter-scale model of a traditional Dutch barn to Craft in Focus as part of an effort to raise the awareness of the historic timber barns that are rapidly disappearing from our landscape. This barn and others have travelled the country, visiting grade schools, high schools and universities to educate young people in the traditions, talents, and culture that are also disappearing from our modern society.

You can come into direct contact with the oaken timbers and their posts, beams, and braces, but also learn of mortises, tenons, dovetails, and wedges. You learn of the structural logic developed not through calculations, but of wisdom and refinements advanced through the centuries. Perhaps the most important aspect of the event is the experience of the cooperative nature of a barn raising and the sense of community that is needed to accomplish a project that today would be built with a crane and a few laborers.

(videofootage: University of Notre Dame, Photo by Robert Ford)

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