Upcoming Exhibit - G.L. of Massachusetts: Celebrating 275 Years of Brotherhood
The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts: Celebrating 275 Years of Brotherhood
Opens March 22, 2008
On July 30, 1733, Henry Price, the Provincial Grand Master of North America, constituted the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts in Boston. Celebrating its 275th anniversary this year, the Grand Lodge is the oldest Masonic jurisdiction in the western hemisphere. As part of the festivities, the Museum will open "The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts: Celebrating 275 Years of Brotherhood." This exhibition will trace the history of the state's Masonic governing body, which grants charters, undertakes charitable activities, and standardizes Masonic rituals and customs throughout its jurisdiction.
"The Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts: Celebrating 275 Years of Brotherhood" presents the story of the Grand Lodge from 1733 to the present day. Firmly tied to the state's unique history, the Grand Lodge has counted hundreds of thousands of Massachusetts men among its members, from Revolutionary War heroes Paul Revere and Joseph Warren to sports commentator Curt Gowdy and former pro football player Russ Francis.
In the 1700s, Massachusetts's Grand Lodge led the way in spreading the light of Freemasonry in the New World. With authority from the Grand Lodge of England, it chartered lodges in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Antigua, Nova Scotia, and New Hampshire within its first ten years. The maritime industries of Massachusetts also helped the Grand Lodge extend its influence internationally during the 1800s and the 1900s. As merchant, fishing and whaling ships spread across the oceans, it was petitioned to charter new lodges: in 1853, it granted dispensation for one in Chile; in 1863, in China; and in 1912, Panama.
Back home in Boston, the current Masonic Temple stands at the corner of Tremont and Boylston Streets. The Grand Lodge first purchased the land at this spot in the late 1850s. Unfortunately, two devastating fires--in 1864 and in 1895--forced the Grand Lodge to rebuild. Despite losing some of their furnishings and belongings, the Grand Lodge Library (opened in 1850) and Museum (established in 1887) continued to collect books, documents and objects to tell the story of Freemasonry in Massachusetts and to preserve its treasures for future generations. Today, the Museum collection has grown to over 12,000 objects and documents, while the Library contains 70,000 volumes. The new exhibition at the National Heritage Museum draws on this fascinating collection and includes more than 150 objects, photographs and documents related to Masonic history in Massachusetts. Please join us and travel through time to meet fascinating people, enjoy festive celebrations and learn about the symbols and traditions of Massachusetts Freemasonry.
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