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A map was created to help you explore Racine County's barn quilts & farming heritage

Courtesy of UW-Parkside and the Racine Arts Council
The Oberhart barn was built in 1882.

If you’ve driven through rural Wisconsin, chances are you’ve seen a barn quilt. They’re large, square paintings hung on barns and can depict a variety of things — flowers, patterns or even barns themselves. The paintings mimic the kind of art you’d see on a quilt and now a local project is working to map out these barn quilts through Racine County.

Caitlin Curtis, an assistant professor of geography and anthropology at UW-Parkside; Laura Mason, creative services director at UW-Parkside; and Kathi Wilson, executive director of the Racine Arts Council, share more about the Racine County Quilts on Barns Trail.

The map of quilts on barns in Racine County.
Screenshot from Racine County Quilts on Barns
The map of quilts on barns in Racine County.

>> Find the map here.

While now quilts on barns can be found all over Wisconsin, Wilson says Racine County was the first place in the state to start a barn quilt project.

And then UW-Parkside got involved to help create an online interactive map so people could find these barns more easily. Curtis explains that the project morphed into more of a story-driven narrative map — growing to tell the stories behind the barns and their owners and the farming heritage of Racine County.

Whether the barn is currently in use or just used for storage, they found the owners of these barns to all be very proud of this heritage. And, Wilson says the mapping project helped create a sense excitement and new energy in Racine County among farmers and neighbors.

Joy Powers is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
Kobe Brown was WUWM's fifth Eric Von fellow.
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