August 29, 2019

‘17th Century Saturdays’ at The Gables this fall – The mastery of early carpenters

by cns2020

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Educator Mike Welsh demonstrates how early carpenters relied on skill, ingenuity and an assortment of hand tools.  

SALEM — The house you’re living in now may well have been built more than a century or two ago — before power tools, sheetrock or foam insulation. If you’ve ever wondered how early carpenters were able to create works of lasting elegance and functionality, The House of the Seven Gables has some answers.

All are invited to “Arts and Mysteries Revealed: Historical Carpentry,” Saturday, September 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at The House of the Seven Gables. In the second in a series of intriguing “17thCentury Saturday” events, visitors will travel back to a different Salem, one where electrical wiring and two-car garages were unheard of.

In “Arts and Mysteries Revealed: Historical Carpentry,” visitors will get a chance to investigate the tools and techniques our country’s earliest carpenters and builders used. Educator Mike Welch is known for his entertaining and informative explorations of the tools and techniques of early woodworkers.

17thCentury Saturdays will be held at The Gables on the first Saturday of each month — September 7, October 5 and November 2. They will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and are included with the price of admission, and each will present a new mystery to explore.

17thCentury Saturday offerings are scheduled throughout Essex County at First Period (1625–1725) sites like The House of the Seven Gables. The schedule for special 17thCentury Saturday events at The Gables is as follows:

September 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Arts & Mysteries Revealed: Historical Carpentry

October 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Arts & Mysteries Revealed:  Colonial Food Preservation

Making food last before refrigeration was a challenge and a skill. Visitors are invited to lend a hand to some colonial preservation techniques, such as butter-making, salting and sugaring.

November 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Arts & Mysteries Revealed:  A Sailor’s Life & Hornworking

Join two outstanding educators as they demonstrate labors of 18thcentury.  Mike Welch will sing a sea shanties and describe the lives of colonial sailors. Chuck Walker will share the wonders of horn. This staple material was used throughout the colonial period to make spoons, powder-horns, combs and more.

In addition, The Gables plans a host of activities on 17thCentury Saturdays including guided tours of the 1668 Turner-Ingersoll Mansion, Living History Labs in the 1682 Hooper-Hathaway House, shopping for gifts unique to The Gables in the Museum Store, located in the c. 1655 Retire Beckett House, a chance to relax and enjoy the seaside views in the gardens as well as explore The Gables’ exhibition, “Pop! Goes The Gables.”

For more information about 17th Century Saturday events around the region, those interested may visit

About The House of the Seven Gables Settlement Association and its mission 

Vision: To preserve, share and continue the American Story.

Mission: To be a welcoming, thriving historic site and community resource that engages people of all backgrounds in our inclusive American story. For more information visit


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