The Newbold-White House first attracted scholarly attention when the Historic American Buildings Survey photographed it about 1933. In the 1940s, the noted architectural historians Thomas T. Waterman and Henry C. Forman included it in their books on early architecture. Their drive-by sightings led to nothing and the house remained merely one of the many old structures scattered throughout Perquimans County.
The Perquimans County Chamber of Commerce and the Perquimans County Historical Society sponsored a public meeting on September 19, 1969 to form the Perquimans County Restoration Association. The major goal of PCRA was to save and restore the house. In 1971, the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1973, the Association purchased 6 acres that included the house.
Restoration proceeded slowly as layers of additions and modifications were removed and the house revealed the changes it had incurred over the years and offered clues to vanished features. The discovered artifacts provided glimpses into past life, and the public records of North Carolina yielded solid information about those who had owned the property over the years. The restoration would stretch over eight years with work occasionally halted as the young PCRA sought ways to raise funds in a county which was not wealthy.
Guided by the North Carolina Division of Archives and History, restoration plans drawn by architects Edwards, Dove, and Knight were approved in 1976. It was determined that the house would be restored to a late 1600s appearance suggested by the evidence available at the time. The physical work of restoration was entrusted to the skilled firm of Wilbert M. Kemp and Company.
There were modern features to be removed and old features to be renewed; damaged woodwork and brickwork to repair; missing bricks, shingles, woodwork, and glass to replace; mortar to repoint; plaster to apply; foundations to reinforce; and protection against damp and insects to arrange. The difficult decision was made to remove two mantels, a wall, and a stairway that were quite old but deemed not original. Unique materials were acquired, including bricks specially made to resemble the color and texture of the originals, hand-made glass from Germany, and shingles hand-riven at the site out of an ancient heart cypress log.
Removal of a wood-frame wing and porches returned the house to its original size and plan: that of a basic, four room hall and parlor type house. Original paneling, sheathing, and flooring on the second floor were carefully stripped and restored, and became the prototypes for the reproduction woodwork of the first floor. Evidence in some remaining plaster and the off-center placement of the chimney in the hall indicated the position of the original stairway, which was recreated. Altered gable-roofed dormers were returned to their original shed roof form, first floor windows were returned to their original size, and leaded glass casement windows were made to fill them, based on remnants of glass and lead cames found in excavations on the site.
With basic restoration completed, the Newbold-White House was formally opened as a museum on July 3, 1981.