Visit our Museum. Visit History.
The oldest Timber Frame House in North America.
The Fairbanks House in Dedham, MA is the oldest known wood structure still standing in North America. Built circa 1637-1641 for Jonathan and Grace Fairbanks and their six children, it was home to eight generations of the Fairbanks family over the course of 268 years. The Fairbanks House is now a historic house museum and on the National Register of Historic Places.
~ Like No Other Historic House ~
Abbott Lowell Cummings, former Charles F. Montgomery Professor of American Decorative Arts at Yale University, said that the Fairbanks House… “is one of the most important historic houses now standing in the northeastern part of the United States. Its value to the area and to the nation as a whole lies not so much in its claim to being the oldest house in New England but in its architectural significance… It may be said quite simply that no other house of the mid-17th century in New England has survived in such unbelievable unspoiled condition. It is extraordinary that so early a structure should preserve such a high percentage of original features. It is a veritable storehouse of information concerning the small handful of houses which survive from this early period.”
~ What’s New ~
Curator’s Talk: Servants, Orphans, and Transients – July 1st 1:30
Who lived in the Fairbanks house? Aside from eight generations of Fairbanks a number of other people spent time in the house over the years. For many years the Fairbanks were wealthy enough that they could afford servants, but they also took in local children whose parents had passed or were otherwise unable to look after them. Additionally, there was a Puritan practice of taking in transients, the poor, and other unfortunates. Meet the many people, from all walks of life, who lived with the Fairbanks Family. Free and open to the public.
For more happenings at Fairbanks House check the calendar of events.
~ Our Mission Statement ~
The Fairbanks House Museum is the oldest timber frame home still standing in North America and a prime example of early colonial architecture. The museum seeks to preserve, conserve, research, and interpret the Fairbanks family homestead, its collections, and the stories of all the generations that lived and worked there. We hope to engage and educate the Fairbanks family, the community, and the public at large about the house, its tenants, and their important place in both local and national history.
We welcome volunteers to help us with museum tours and special projects. Immerse yourself in Colonial America.
Membership in the Fairbanks Family in America is open to all – lineal descendants and friends of the Fairbanks House.
Support the oldest timber frame home, an example of historic American architecture, and a national treasure.