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Preservation Projects


The House of Seven Gables (The Gables) honors the legacy of Caroline Emmerton and her original mission through the preservation of our historic buildings. As she believed in her time, and we agree, there is no better source for understanding our present than the historic resources available to us from the past. As such, The Gables strives to protect its historic buildings by adhering to national standards for historic preservation supported by scientific research and professional review. The Gables acknowledges its legal and ethical responsibility to prudently care for and protect our collections, which are part of a common cultural heritage to be preserved now and in the future for the benefit of the public.

The environment is a critical factor in the long-term health of our collections. Continued improvement of environmental conditions is a priority for collections both in storage and on exhibition, recognizing the limitations inherent in the historic buildings of the institution. Environment refers to the presence of water, temperature, humidity and light levels, pest activity, dust and pollution levels, and housing issues. The Gables conducts regular monitoring and preventative cleaning and maintenance.

The Gables is responsible for preserving and caring for our seven national register listed historic buildings, including the National Historic Landmark Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, aka The House of the Seven Gables. This involves both the regular day-to-day task of effective and conscientious maintenance, as well as the long-term, thoughtful planning for the future. Our historic buildings are not only important cultural resources to be preserved but also publicly accessible interpretive and educational pieces, which require a balanced approach in their care.

Like all curators of historic properties, we consider the span of centuries, rather than years or decades. This consideration makes preservation and sustainability an ideal pairing. At The Gables, we seek to enhance this partnership not only through the improvement of energy efficiency and conservation of historic building materials but also through using the lens that inherently sustainable design that can come from the past.

2018 Gardens and Grounds Salem Photography


We are currently researching the ways that climate change may impact our site. Areas we hope to explore include:

  • Monitoring the hydrology of our site to understand how storm water flows and how best to protect our historic resources
  • Making our seawall resilient enough to handle rising sea levels
  • Investigating how to protect our utilities and critical infrastructure from future water inundation

We are also working to:

  • Improve the efficiency and efficacy of the HVAC system in the House of the Seven Gables
  • Improve the lighting across the site for staff and visitor safety and to provide a more enjoyable experience
Crew from American Steeple and Tower and Cassidy Bros. installing the steel beam at The House of the Seven Gables.


From 2015–2017, The House of the Seven Gables undertook a structural restoration project in the Turner-Ingersoll Mansion.

The dining room chamber, located in the original 1668 part of the mansion, had been deemed structurally unsound. The key to this project was the reinforcement of the 1668 summer beam and framing in the dining room chamber. Prior to noting the structural issues, the rooms were used for living quarters, interpretive space, offices and storage. The dining room chamber had never been viewed by museum visitors.

Today the room is used to share rotating objects from our collections and archives to show how the legacy of maritime fortune, coupled with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s fame, allows for The House of the Seven Gables to provide vital settlement services for Salem’s immigrant community. The kitchen chamber, known by staff and visitors as the ‘accounting room,’ was divided in the early 1900s to install a bathroom. This space was restored to an earlier configuration.

The dining room chamber project was more than a structural restoration – it set off a chain of projects that continue to inspire us to share a more accurate and inclusive history at our National Historic Landmark District. The construction saved a one-of-a-kind property and allowed us to open our doors even wider.