The Middleburg Museum Foundation completed the sale of the historic Allen House to the Masters of Foxhounds Association on Friday, April 15.
The sale marks the end of a process that began several months ago, when the Masters of Foxhounds Association approached the museum foundation about purchasing the house as a home for their own collection as well as housing for its library of foxhound records and an office for the association.
The Allen House, at 301 East Washington Street in Middleburg, was given to the Middleburg Museum Foundation in December, 2015, by Dr. Betsee Parker.
While the museum foundation expressed enormous gratitude for such an extraordinary gift, the board of the foundation recognized early on the challenges faced by a small organization with few resources, which would now have to renovate and bring the structure up to code and in compliance with handicapped accessibility regulations.
Early estimates for that renovation were that this investment could go as high as $500,000, a staggering amount for a small foundation. This money would have to be spent before any exhibits could be created. Nevertheless, the museum board was committed to raising as much money as it could to bring a museum to Middleburg, according to board members.
Meanwhile, the Masters of Foxhounds Association had been looking for a home in Middleburg, and the Allen House, with its historic importance, seemed like a good choice. Those associated with the Masters of Foxhounds understood the struggles the museum foundation was going through, and approached the board about purchasing the Allen House as their new home.
“We believe this sale represents a win for all parties,” said board member Bridge Littleton, who served as the museum foundation’s negotiator in the sale. “The Middleburg Museum Foundation will now have resources to move forward in the creation of a museum, and the town will have a new, important member of the community in the Masters of Foxhounds Association.”
In voting for the sale, the museum foundation board had noted that the Foxhounds Association is a perfect fit for the town and will be a great asset in the years to come—and the Allen House will be well taken care of by its new owners.
The Middleburg Museum Foundation has already begun searching for a new home that will be suitable and welcoming to residents and visitors alike.