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Heat and Humidity – Climate Change at The Gables

Photo of collection objects from the Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace being treated for mold with UV rays on the walkway by the seaside lawn.
Photo of collection objects from the Nathaniel Hawthorne Birthplace being treated for mold with UV rays on the walkway by the seaside lawn.

In August 2021, the basement of the Nathaniel Hawthrone Birthplace flooded. The presence of standing water combined with high heat and humidity levels led to mold issues in the house which quickly spread to collections pieces. You can read more about the steps our preservation team took to eradicate the mold and mitigate future mold growth in a previous blog post. This is not the first time that The Gables has had to combat mold. In 2016, the archives underwent a mold removal process to preserve many of our books that had been affected by mold growth.

Higher heat and humidity levels strain our HVAC systems, which make it very difficult to maintain proper collections conditions for all of our historic houses and objects. Constantly running our HVAC systems, which are powered by fossil fuels, at peak capacity further contributes to global climate change. Switching to electric heat pumps should be a big step toward becoming a carbon-free site. Electrical systems have the potential to become carbon-free as the grid transitions to renewable energy sources. Replacing our existing systems comes with a very steep price tag, making it fairly cost prohibitive for both The Gables and many other historic sites.

If you would like to support The Gables’ efforts to combat climate change, consider joining us for our Sips by the Sea annual fundraising party on September 10, 2022.

Date: August 24, 2022

Author: Holly Watson


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