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Keeping The Barn

They are the centerpiece of any farm or ranch. Montana features a rich heritage connected to barns. There are more than 6000 historic barns in the state, but that number is rapidly falling. It’s a difficult dilemma for farmers and ranchers; when to hold on or when to let go. The 90-minute show follows the Brouwer family, near Manhattan, as they struggle with the cost and complication of fixing the roof on their barn. They discover it is no easy task maintaining their piece of history. During their journey to repair the barn, this program also features Montana families from the mountains of the southwest to the prairies of the northeast as they try to maintain their historic barns. There are even some quick visits to some of Montana’s more unusual barns. Ultimately, they all have one thing in common. Their personal stories reflect the meaning and nostalgia of these beautiful buildings.


Producer/Director John Twiggs brings 30-years of television experience to lead the production team. He has documented Montana history with award-winning programs such as, Evelyn Cameron: Pictures from a Worthy Life, and, Playing for the World: The 1904 Fort Shaw Indian Girls’ Basketball Team. His body of work has earned national awards (Cine Golden Eagle) and regional honors (Emmy).

MontanaPBS Production Partners:

  • Authors Chere Jiusto and Christine Brown
  • Photographer Tom Ferris (Hand Raised: Barns of Montana)
  • Montana Preservation Alliance
  • Montana Historical Society


We would like to express our sincere thanks to these supporters who have made generous contributions to the making of the film:

  • Jane and Ron Lerner
  • Greater Montana Foundation
  • Nancy Thompson Flikkema
  • Thrivent Financial
  • The Estate of Judith A. McCarthy
  • Friends of MontanaPBS

Contact Info:

Ray Ekness, Executive Producer, MontanaPBS
(406) 243-4154,

John Twiggs, Producer, MontanaPBS
(406) 243-4565,

Keeping the Barn Photo Contest

As our producer, John Twiggs, ventured around the state to capture footage and tell the story of Keeping the Barn, he quickly realized one thing: there are A TON of barns in Montana. As Twiggs compiled this story, there were so many other stories left untold and so many barns left undocumented. Which left us with the perfect opportunity to hear from you, our viewers, and experience the barns of Montana from your perspective! Now is your chance to enter the Keeping the Barn photo contest and show us that barn in your neighborhood, on your grandparents homestead, your aunt and uncle's restored family barn or that rundown barn on your favorite hiking trail with the best view. Wherever you capture your images, by submitting them to us, you're in the running for a MontanaPBS prize package!

Ways to Submit Your Photos:

  • Upload a post to Facebook or Twitter and tag @montanapbs with #keepingthebarn
  • Upload a post to Instagram and tag @montana_pbs with #keepingthebarn
  • Email them to with the subject line: Barns Photo Contest
  • Mail us your hard copy photos!

Full contest rules are outlined below and a winner will be chosen during our fall pledge drive in November! Good luck, and we can't wait to see your photos.

Contest Rules

Up to 3 photo entries per person per household. Individuals can submit up to 3 photos on behalf of a family, group, class or organization. Photos must be original work of the entrant. Photo captions are not required, but are encouraged. Captions may be no more that 90 words and must be a true representation of the photo. Photos will be accepted on Facebook, Twitter (@montanapbs) and Instagram (@montana_pbs) and must include #keepingthebarn. Hard copy photo submissions will be accepted and can be mailed to: P.O. Box 174430, Bozeman, MT 59717, ATTN: Digital Content. Any accompanying text must be printed/written legibly or typed. Email submissions may be sent to with the subject line: Barns Photo Contest. Submissions accepted until November 26, 2020. A winner will be announced on or around November 30.