Barn Raising on FamilySearch Wiki

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What is a barn raising?

On a frontier homestead, the largest and most complex structure was usually the barn. Because barns were built with massive posts and beams that depended on each other for strength, their heavy walls had to be built separately and then raised by a crowd. Settlers who wanted a barn needed a barn raising -- a party or social event in which the community would help complete the heavy work quickly.

Challenges of working in isolation

Wiki contributors sometimes experience the same feelings homesteaders did. For one, working in isolation can be lonely. Sometimes the lone worker wishes for a parter, a friend who will help brainstorm ideas or simply provide another human voice. Sometimes the work feels overwhelming, as if it just takes too long to get to the point where a sizeable portion of the work seems finished. Wiki contributors who feel overwhelmed and isolated think about what the work would be like if they had some community help. When they think of community help, for some reason a lot of them think of a barn raising and wonder whether the principles of a physical barn raising can be applied to a wiki project. Those who tried it found that it works: one really can stage a community event that makes the writing process more rapid, fun, social, and satisfying.

According to Meatball Wiki, the benefits of a barn raising are:1

  1. The event generates a significant sense of accomplishment in a short period of time.
  2. Participants learn about how to do a barn raising, making them more effective in leading their own barn raisings later.
  3. "Barn raising is fun, as a social event! Having a barn to raise does more than just get people together and let them talk. It gives them something to talk about."
  4. "When the tables are turned, the barn owner does the same for anyone else." So a good way to raise volunteers for your own barn raising is to help others with theirs.
  5. People helping other people strengthens relationships and social bonds.
  6. When community members get their problems solved quickly through barn raisings, it gives them more time to devote to the community.

See also


  1. "Barn Raising," Meatball Wiki.