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Pilar E. Garro, Claudia F. Chuber, and Allison French bring exciting energy and know-how to The House of the Seven Gables as development professionals. They come to The Gables following the retirement of former director of development, Karen Barter, in December 2017.

Pilar E. Garro, The Gables’ new director of development, is a 20-year museum veteran. Her expertise is historic sites, and she has extensive knowledge of this region’s cultural assets, operations and needs. She previously worked at the Crane Estate in Ipswich, owned by The Trustees of Reservations, and Historic New England’s Beauport, the Sleeper-McCann House in Gloucester.


Pilar E. Garro


Garro holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wheaton College and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies and Applied Arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She attended the Attingham Summer School, devoted to the study of the English Country House, in July 2010.  Garro is active in tourism efforts on the North Shore as past executive board member of The North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau and is a current board member of the New England Museum Association. 2018 marks Garro’s tenth year as a Salem resident, where she lives with her wife, Kathleen. 

“As a historic house ‘nerd,’ says Garro, “I’m thrilled to be working in and advocating for such an iconic site.” She says that she is excited to introduce more people to the Settlement House, its goals, its history and the ongoing education classes that keep the tradition alive. “Ultimately, I hope to help this National Historic Landmark become more financially stable and better prepared for the next 350 years.” The Gables is 350 years old this year.

Management professional Claudia F. Chuber joins The Gables’ team as development operations manager and board liaison.She has worked with both profit and nonprofit organizations. Her experience includes marketing and public relations. She was director of community affairs at the Peabody Essex Museum and she held a similar position at MIT. She volunteers for several local nonprofit organizations and she worked as a customer service trainer at Massachusetts General Hospital. Her development experience includes time at the Northshore CDC and MIT. In addition to a master’s degree in education from UMass, Amherst, she obtained an MBA from Salem State University in 2010. Chuber was born, raised and educated in Colombia.

In her new role at The Gables, Chuber provides high level administrative support including planning and reporting for the development department, the board of directors and for Executive Director Kara McLaughlin. Her strong organizational, communication and technical skills will increase the efficiency of Gables’ operations, but also harness technology and data to bolster development efforts. She will also give the volunteer board of directors the information and project management support they need.


Allison French


Allison French, a Salem resident, joins the team as a development associate. In support of development’s mission, French lends assistance in fundraising activities, donor relations, the membership program, direct mail appeals, grant writing and special events. Previously, French worked as cultural site administrator for the Trustees of Reservations at the Crane Estate, Castle Hill, Ipswich. There she managed, developed and oversaw the historic site’s tour program and visitor experience. She also participated in event and program planning. Previously, she worked as a historical guide for several institutions including The Gables in 2013, and she served as Salem Historical Society board secretary. 

Former director of development, Karen Barter, worked at The House of the Seven Gables for five years and during that time she helped The Gables organize and execute five successful Taste of The Gables, the institution’s popular annual fundraiser. She also spearheaded the memorial brick walkway, a highly regarded Gable’s initiative.