James Fields began construction on the Fields-Penn House in 1857. When he completed the house in 1860, surely he did not realize that, one-hundred and fifty-four years later, it would be a museum with thousands of visitors each year. Two families, the Fields and the Penns, both with eight children each, occupied the home for over one-hundred and five-years. In addition, the Fields-Penn House has operated as a museum since 1995, nearly twenty years ago. It is thus with a bit of sadness, but also great hope, that we are closing the house temporarily for reconstruction.
In the past twenty years that the house has operated as a museum, cracks began to appear in the plaster. Old homes settle with time, but the problem has progressed to the point that the front of the house, including our Best Parlor (downstairs) and Penn Suite (upstairs), is in jeopardy. For the safety of our visitors, the Town of Abingdon has decided to close the house temporarily. In February, structural engineers will visit the house and help the town develop a plan to save the Fields-Penn House.
Although we are disappointed that we will temporarily be unable to share the stories of the Fields and the Penn families with you for a while, there is great hope in our closing. By strengthening and preserving the Fields-Penn House, we will preserve a part of Abingdon’s past for future generations to enjoy.”