The Pearl S. Buck House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, tells the story of a woman’s contributions to society. The home of Pearl S. Buck was at risk of closing its doors because of safety issues, structural deficits, limited access, significant water infiltration, and general disrepair after three decades of public use. But thanks to the Keystone Fund, which enabled the leverage of private and public funding, the historic dwelling was restored.
In 2004, the house was in a state of disrepair. The windows were broken, ceilings leaked, and structural and electrical deficiencies threatened the house and collection while making visits potentially dangerous for visitors.
In 2005, a historic structures report was completed, and the degree and cost of restoration was daunting. The house was then included on the National Park Service’s “Most Endangered Historic Landmarks” Program and selected by Preservation Pennsylvania as one of its “Most Endangered Historic Properties.” These designations helped secure the funding needed to launch the $2.8 Million “Preservation with a Purpose” Campaign. The restoration of the House took six years and addressed interior and exterior needs. The grand reopening took place on June 26, 2013, also Pearl S. Buck’s 121st Birthday, marking the completion of significant preservation journey. As a result of the changes made to the house, interpretation and public programming were expanded to include five areas of the house not previously accessible to visitors and a new Welcome Center.
Pearl S. Buck (1892-1973) lived the first half of her life in China and the second half of her life at her home in Bucks County. She is the first of only two American women to receive the Nobel and Pulitzer prizes for literature. As an award- winning author, she used her popular influence to protect children from racial discrimination. Beginning with one child who arrived at her front door on Christmas Eve, 1948, Pearl S. Buck International has changed the lives of over 2 million children and family members through child adoption, child sponsorship, and community programs. Today, that very first child is the House’s Chairman of the Board of Directors.
Today, the Pearl S. Buck House offers the public far more than a traditional historic tour experience. While most historic sites interpret history, the House continues to create history every time a child is united with a family through adoption, or a child living in poverty goes to school thanks a child sponsor, or someone participates in a community programs drawn from the unique experience of Pearl herself.
Ongoing sustainability has been a key component of the organization’s stewardship efforts. In the past decade, volunteer support, revenue, and membership have all grown. A diverse and deeply dedicated Board of Directors of community leaders has been developed. The Pearl S. Buck House is now well-positioned to create an interpretive program that makes the visitor experience even more special.