Heritage Barn Grants FAQ

When can I apply for grants?

The Heritage Barn Grant application period for the 2021-2023 biennium closes on Sunday – October 17, 2021 at 11:59pm. You can apply through the online form

How do I know if I am eligible to apply?

To apply for grants, barns must be is listed on the Heritage Barn Register (or the National Register of Historic Places) and be in need of substantial repair. Register nominations may be submitted any time. More information about the Register can be found on the DAHP website. For questions about your barn’s register status or if you would like to submit a nomination for your barn to the register, please contact the State Architectural Historian, Michael Houser, via email.

How much money can I ask for?

Applicants may request up to 50% of their overall project expenses. Heritage Barn Grants are matching reimbursement grants. They require a 1-1 match so that for every dollar the state puts in, you will need to match it with a dollar of your own money or with donated goods, services, or labor (valued at $25/hour or market rate for donated professional services). This match must be demonstrated in the grant application.

The average grant award is about $20,000-$25,000. We regularly award grants of just a few thousand dollars to owners proposing small projects or just looking for support to purchase project materials, while our highest-ever grant award was $50,000.

Where does this money come from?

Funding for the Heritage Barn Grant program comes from the Washington State Capital Budget approved by the Washington State Legislature every two years. Because it is public money, grant contracts include a five-, ten- or fifteen-year term historic preservation easement or covenant (depending on the amount of funding), which specifies public benefit and minimum maintenance requirements.

Grant recipients will be expected to proactively maintain their historic barn or outbuilding for a minimum of ten years. Public access to the exterior of properties which are not visible from a public right of way must be provided under reasonable terms and circumstances, for instance a scheduled visit by non-profit organizations or school groups, must be offered at least one day per year. Public access to the exterior of properties which are visible from a public right of way is encouraged but not required. Public access to the interior of properties is not required under any circumstances.

Are there special requirements for using this grant?

Yes! Heritage Barn Grant recipients are required to preserve the historic character of the barn as much as possible by making sure all project work complies with the historic standards. Grant recipients are also required to enter into a historic preservation easement and maintenance agreement.

Historic Standards

The Heritage Barn Grant program uses the historic standards set forth by the National Park Service called The Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Rehabilitation of Historic Properties. For most Heritage Barn Grant projects, completing a project that follows the Standards can be achieved by following two main principles as you plan and execute your rehabilitation project:

    • Preserve as much original material as possible by repairing or reinforcing existing materials that can be salvaged.
    • Any materials that have completely deteriorated may be replaced by new materials as long as they exactly replicate the original in appearance, material, dimension, etc.

This means that not all modern/newly developed materials are appropriate for projects receiving grant funding from this program. If you have any questions about this methodology, please contact grants@nullpreservewa.org.

If you are interested in a roof replacement as part of your project, be sure to check out the state’s guide for replacing roofs on historic barns.

Easement & Maintenance Agreement

All property owners who receive a Heritage Barn Grant are required to enter into a property easement to ensure the building is not adversely impacted by future action, such as demolition or inappropriate alteration. The easement must be notarized and filed with your property deed at your county’s auditor’s office before grant funds are disbursed. The term of the easement will be 5, 10, or 15 years, depending on the amount of the grant award received and will carry forward to any new owners within the term of the easement should the property be sold. The easement is a preservation and maintenance easement only. Public access to private property is not required unless the barn is not visible from a public right of way.

Additionally, as part of the grant contract the property owner has with the Department of Archaeology & Historic Preservation, grantees must also enter into a standard, 10-year property maintenance agreement, regardless of the amount of grant funds awarded. This stays in effect for 10 years, even for properties which were only required a 5-year property easement. This maintenance agreement is tied to the owner, and so would become void if the property were to change ownership.

If the property owner wishes to make any substantial changes to the property during the period of the easement or maintenance agreement, those changes will need to adhere to the same historic standards to which the grant project was subject. Property owners should contact the grant administrators to consult about the proposed changes before any additional work commences.

How are grant awards selected?

The grant application projects are reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • relative historic and cultural significance of the barn;
  • urgency of the threat and need for repair;
  • extent to which the project preserves historic character and extends the useful life of the barn or associated agricultural building;
  • visibility of the barn from a state designated scenic byway or other publicly traveled way;
  • extent to which the project leverages other sources of financial assistance;
  • provisions provided for long-term preservation;
  • readiness of the applicant to initiate and complete the project; and
  • extent to which the project contributes to the equitable geographic distribution of heritage barn preservation fund awards across the state.

Additionally, special consideration is given to buildings that are:

  • still in agricultural use;
  • listed in the National Register of Historic Places; or
  • outstanding examples of their type or era.

What is the process for actually receiving the money? How does reimbursement work?

The Heritage Barn Grants are reimbursement grants, which means that projects must be financed up front and grant awards are only distributed on a reimbursement basis after the work is completed. As you are planning your finances, please allow about six weeks for reimbursements to be processed.

Barn grant recipients must submit all invoices and itemized receipts, along with all proofs of payment, to receive grant funds. Invoices and itemized receipts detail the items purchased and/or work to be done. Proofs of payment show how the items or work was paid for, either with credit card receipts, cancelled/cashed checks, or in the case of paying in cash, a receipt indicating cash payment. If a credit card receipt is lost or an image of a cancelled/cashed check is not available, bank statements (with private/unrelated information redacted as needed) can be submitted as proof of payment.

Can I apply for funding to restore something other than a barn?

Yes, as long as it’s related to agricultural history! The term “Heritage Barn” is used to refer to any agricultural outbuilding used to house animals, crops, or farm equipment that is over fifty years old. In addition to barns, this includes agricultural resources such as milk houses, sheds, silos, or other outbuildings that are historically associated with the working life of the farm or ranch.

Unfortunately, residential structures associated with farmsteads are not eligible for this program.

Can I submit more than one application?

No, that is not allowed, but applicants may propose a project that encompasses more than one building if they are all agricultural structures and all located on the same legal parcel.

I applied previously and did not receive a grant. Can/should I apply again?

Yes! We welcome repeat applicants and have awarded many projects after their second or even third grant request. Although the number of times a property owner applies for grants does not factor into the scoring of your application, we do keep track of who applies each round and it is a part of the committee’s deliberation for the grant awards.

I applied previously and received a grant. Can/should I apply again?

Yes, as long as the grant you received was not in the most recent grant cycle. It is the policy of the Heritage Barn Advisory Committee not to award grant funding to the same building in two consecutive grant rounds, but you may apply for more funding after waiting at least one cycle.

I am submitting an application on behalf of a non-profit or local government. Can staff time count in the project budget?

Yes, but only for the required match. Staff time working on project management (including research and preparing bids/specs for a contractor) can count as in-kind match. Grant recipients must provide proof of the time spent on project management through a report from their payroll software (like Quickbooks) that accounts for time spent on the project. Recipients would also need to provide proof of payment to the staff person for any pay period in which s/he worked on the project.

Where can I learn more?

The Heritage Barn Grants – Guidelines and Procedures document has a lot more information about the application process. Online workshops will be scheduled and posted on our social media pages. You can also watch the online version of our 2019-2021 grant workshop for information about the grants and a walkthrough of the application. Otherwise, feel free to contact the Preservation Programs Director, Huy Pham with the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, at 206-462-2999 or grants@nullpreservewa.org