The House of the Seven Gables strives to be a welcoming, thriving historic site. Over the past few months, the pandemic has challenged our ability to do that in traditional ways.
Since our closure on March 17, we have been reaching out to staff and visitors to see what our best path forward might look like.
Visitor sentiment is in line with regulations set forth by state and local officials – an outdoor experience is that path. Until the start of Phase 3 in Massachusetts (anticipated to be July 6), we will continue to welcome visitors to our grounds Friday – Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. A $10 donation is requested. Entry is through the gate on Turner Street.
At this point, the historic houses on the museum campus will not open in 2020. Our October Performances will not be happening.
Because of this change in the visitor experience and the decrease in anticipated revenue, current staffing levels cannot be maintained. Layoffs have heavily impacted our Visitor Services team while others on staff have seen a reduction in hours.
“I imagine that for many, this news is as heartbreaking to hear as it is for me to share,” says McLaughlin. “The Gables is grateful to everyone in our community of talented staff, friends, members and supporters for all that you have done to help in good times and bad.”
“One of the things that I have found most difficult to do is to plan for future weeks, months and even years,” says McLaughlin. “Without any clear idea of when the pandemic will pass, when a treatment or vaccine will be available, when people will want to travel or when a significant enough number of people will want to take a tour through a historic house, it has been impossible to plan when and how we might be able to fully reopen our site and offer our programs safely and with confidence.”
While our traditional experiences may not be available in 2020, we look forward to engaging with visitors, friends, and members in a variety of capacities. The Museum Store will soon open for in-person shopping. In Phase 3, we’ll look forward to offering Twice-Told-Tale wedding packages – a small way for couples to have a ceremony in 2020 and plan a future celebration. A number of lectures and events are planned. Some of these will be virtual and others will be small, in-person gatherings. Our staff is actively reviewing ways to bring back our ESL and Citizenship programming for the fall semester.
We can do none of this without your support. Visit our historic site. Leave a donation. Become a member. Share our social media posts.
In the meantime, says McLaughlin, “we can continue to engage our community both virtually and by offering our beautiful seaside campus as a place of enjoyment, education and/or respite.”
We’d like to thank the editorial staff at The Salem News for this call to action to support local museums and historic sites.
This post was written by Julie Arrison-Bishop