SALEM — The House of the Seven Gables — the historic seaside mansion built by entrepreneurial sea captain John Turner — has stood proud for 353 years. And 2021 is one of its proudest. The Gables will open to the public on April 2 — marking yet another historic milestone for a house that has witnessed many. Add a COVID-19 pandemic to that list.
Behind-the-scenes hard work throughout 2020 — including upgrades to storage and preservation of the archival collections, a new and improved visitor accounting and management system, revised educational programming, essential fundraising efforts and a robust slate of virtual programs — have all helped to make this springtime re-emergence a genuine cause for celebration.
On April 2 visitors can again tour the House of the Seven Gables. Those interested may sign up here starting March 27. This spring each guided tour will be limited to four people. The semi-private tours are designed to comply with state and federal safety guidelines but they have the added benefit of providing guests with a more intimate and exclusive experience. The tours start on the hour and last an hour. They include admission to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s birthplace, also on the property. The Gables will be open Friday through Monday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with more hours added as safety challenges subside.
Visitors can also opt to explore the gardens and outdoor property, and access both the virtual and 3D tours of the house using their smart phones. There’s a scavenger hunt for the younger family members and everyone is welcome to the Museum Store with a fine library of related books and a specially curated gift shop that is unique to The House of the Seven Gables.
“As restrictions loosen, as resources grow and as our staff return we will edge closer and closer to normal operating capacity,” says Julie Arrison-Bishop, director of community engagement at The Gables. “This National Historic Landmark District, with its seven historic structures, comes alive in springtime. The gardens bloom. The lawns once again radiate a rich and verdant green. And the ocean sparkles. But the excited voices of families as they explore, enjoy the oceanfront setting and create their own up-close encounters with America’s seminal stories are what really nurture this property’s heart and soul.”