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Old Barn-second floor (copy)

From the outside the Old Barn, near Discovery Park in Muscatine, looks like an ordinary barn. Its true size is apparent once on the second floor where it is wide open, and has a cathedral-like ceiling.

MUSCATINE — Storytelling is something Paul Carroll is passionate about. He wants local youth to enjoy sharing the farm history of Muscatine as much as he does.

"We want to capture these stories so we can pass them on to future generations," he said of the Friends of the Old Barn.

He, along with volunteers, will hold the final barn open house of the season Saturday where they are hoping to encourage more youth 4H and FFA members to do projects on the history of agriculture in Muscatine. Any member of either program that brings in a past fair project, photo of a project or ribbon will receive a free t-shirt.

Carroll said people don't always have the best perspective about Muscatine and southeast Iowa, in general. By helping youth, or anyone, particularly longtime farm families, interested in learning and sharing stories, he believes more people will understand the real history of the area.

"Ag is our story, really" he said, "besides some really good office furniture and some sports lighting."

The barn will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. off Harmony Lane in Muscatine. Carroll said volunteers will provide any interested youth with display boards and will cover submission fees entering historical projects for the fair competition.

Also featured at the open house will be a painting class led by local artist Kay Flanders. Carroll said Flanders has photographs of the barn available for participants to study during the class and hopes it will be the subject of many paintings. Adults and children may participate. The cost is $20 for adults and free for children. There will also be children's wood crafts.

Carroll said having events like this is a way for the group to encourage use of the barn, as well. 

He invites anyone interested in participating “to capture and show off and celebrate our ag heritage.”

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