Very often in museums the stories that we share focus on the people and events connected to a place. What can be overlooked are the methods that we use to develop these stories. The House of the Seven Gables will be looking at the various disciplines used to study history and architecture in this year’s annual exhibition, These Walls Do Talk. Eleven text panels will tell the story of how we know what we know about The House of the Seven Gables. The exhibit begins with an introduction focusing on historical interest in the house beginning with Nathaniel Hawthorne. As a visitor to the house in 1840, Hawthorne’s inquisitive instinct had him exploring every corner of the house looking for clues about its architectural past.
Every owner of The Gables left behind evidence that they adopted the decorative trend of wallpaper in the home—a trend that has a long and interesting history in New England. One of our most intriguing stories comes from the newest wallpaper in the house, reproduced by Adelphi Paper Hanging, LLC.
Richard Nylander, curator emeritus for Historic New England, made a number of visits in 2016 to analyze the wallpaper found during the restoration of the Accounting Room. He noted that the earliest wallpapers found date to c.1790 and are likely the products of the earliest New England wallpaper makers, known as paper stainers. One of the patterns, the Statue of Diana, has been found in a number of homes in the region.
The House of the Seven Gables is excited to be one of 32 nonprofits selected to participate in the Becoming American Documentary Film and Discussion Series. Becoming American is a “six-week public program featuring documentary film screenings and moderated discussions designed to encourage an informed discussion of immigration issues against the backdrop of our immigration history.” The Gables’ history of working with the local immigrant community for more than a century through the work of the Settlement House and more recently through targeted programming makes for a perfect fit with this series.
The House of the Seven Gables is undertaking a project to replace the roof on the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion. The roof was replaced in 2005, but the tumbled-steel nails that were used have deteriorated due to a chemical reaction with the fire resistance underlay. The nails that were used were considered industry standard at the time, and other historic houses have had similar issues. The roof is a vital part of the outer “shell” of the house and vigilant preservation is necessary to protect the structure. David M. Hart, AIA is the preservation architect on the project with Finch & Rose consulting. Napco, Inc. based out of Gloucester is the contractor that will complete the roof replacement. The project is funded in part thanks to grants from the Massachusetts Preservation Projects Fund and the Salem Community Preservation Act.
Home Building and Woodworking in Colonial Americapresents a unique view of 17th-and 18th-century American colonial architecture. The buildings on our historic campus speak of the styles that prevailed in the earliest times of New England. While today they reflect to us a sense of permanence and austere beauty, there were many challenges that house wrights faced in fabricating them, and to the many hands that raised the heavy timber frames.
Some of the terms used to describe different components of the timber frame house may seem foreign to us, such as summer beams, lintel beams, ground sills, purlins, and weather boards. They are the result of over nine hundred years of the evolution of house building in England. We still have much to learn about those methods that were common to our colonial ancestors.
The Celebrate Salem awards help to showcase local achievements in our community. We are delighted that The House of the Seven Gables has been nominated in the Community Service category (with some very worthy competition!).
This year is a great time to join The House of the Seven Gables. We’re in the midst of a major celebration—the 350th anniversary of the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, one of the oldest timber-framed mansions in North America. Our event calendar is chock full of events that are highlighting our theme of 350 years of stories and we have lots of special fun planned for members.
RSVP to our April 6 exhibit opening [insert link to RSVP]. Members will receive a complimentary drink ticket at the reception. Appetizers will be served and you’ll have a chance to be among the first to see These Walls Do Talk.
On June 2, we’re teaming up with Essex National Heritage Area [link to Hawthorne’s Salem program with ENHA] and taking you on a walking tour of the places where Hawthorne lived and worked in Salem.
Celebrate the Fourth of July on the Seaside Lawn is the member event of the year—pack a picnic, grab a slice of cake to celebrate Hawthorne’s birthday, and take advantage of the cash bar while you enjoy Salem’s spectacular fireworks display!
Have you ever seen how a 17th century house was built from the inside out? Now you can! Join us at Historic New England’s Gedney House [insert link to Gedney House here] for one of two tours that will allow you to connect with four centuries of Salem’s architectural history.
Not a member or need to renew? Click the link below or call our team at 978-744-0991 x126 with any questions. We’d love for you to be a part of 350 years of stories at The Gables.
Join us for the opening of our annual exhibit, These Walls Do Talk. The 2018 exhibit shares the science and history about how we know what we know about the 350-year-old Turner-Ingersoll Mansion including analysis of paint, wallpaper, and architecture and primary source documents such as deeds and drawings. This event is free and open to the public.
Come join us for our Living History Labs, featuring hands-on activities based on Settlement House programs of the early-20th century. Play both scientist and historian in ‘lab experiments’ where you practice your sewing, work on your paper folding skills or play 1916 games. Registration is not required.
Join one of our professional guides AND Miss Emmerton (on her birthday!) for an interactive tour of The Gables and learn about why she was inspired by Hawthorne’s works to preserve the mansion. The cost for the general public is $15. The cost for members of The Gables is $10.
Join Nathaniel Hawthorne, as portrayed by historian Rob Velella, for a walk around Salem. Learn about the places where Hawthorne lived, worked, and raised his family. See the places that inspired some of his most famous works. The cost for the general public is $15. The cost for members of The Gables is $10. Special thanks to Mass Humanities for their support of this event.
Celebrate Nathaniel Hawthorne and National Poetry Month! Join the Witch City Writers as you dissect Hawthorne’s poem “The Ocean” and try your best to come up with a tongue-twisting, ocean-themed poem of your own. Thanks to the generosity of Mass Humanities, this event is free.
Christine Thomson is a local conservator who will talk about the importance and techniques of paint analysis. This scientific technique is used in historic buildings to help with restoration work and to share better historical information with staff and visitors alike.