Firenze (FI) – Italy
The Museum of Masonic Symbols in Florence was founded for the commitment and the desire to convey to brothers the differences in traditions that have evolved over time, and at the same time be able to give the secular public a first point of interest and curiosity to the Masonic ideology and an in-depth knowledge of Masonic philosophy and ethics through the representation of symbols, which are the basis of the ritual and philosophic work.
The museum was deliberately disconnected from any ties to Masonic Lodges and political and religious ideologies in the area by the will of the founder and director, just to make as secular and apolitical as possible this exhibition, opening up and offering the opportunity to know a world sometimes unknown or considered negative, but to whom today’s society owes much as far as progress and improvement of human rights and social conventions is concerned.
The Collection on display comes from the passion and love of a Brother to the ritual objects and symbols etched, embroidered, applied, printed or engraved on these items. The Collection begun and continued for three/four generations of Masonic membership and is now presented and offered in Florence, where in 1731 was founded the First Italian Masonic Lodge, known as: “The Lodge of the English-people”.
In an environment in the historical centre of Firenze and a few hundred meters from the well known “Via Maggio”, where was founded the First Italian Masonic Lodge that met in a tavern and hotel. The premises and structures of that first Masonic Temple were built with beams of spruce forest of Vallombrosa.
The exhibition houses more than ten thousand objects from around the world. There are dresses, aprons, belts, glasses, bottles, porcelain, pins, ties, stamps, photos, posters, documents, books, diaries, registration forms, glass slides, magic lanterns.
Most objects can be defined as Masonic archaeology. There are in fact exposed objects dating from the end of 1700 to the present. The oldest object is a French apron from the end of 1700, buried during the Second World War to hide the Nazi-Fascists.
Many are the curiosities and peculiarities, every object has his own history, a meaning.
The core was collected in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Cuba, South Africa, France, England, Scotland, Ireland and, of course, Italy.
Upstairs are reconstructed in detail the Cabinet of Reflection, where one starts to take the first steps in Freemasonry, and a faithful and complete reconstruction, in its small Scottish Rite Temple, of an operating Lodge which can accommodate 15 brothers, with symbols and instruments of the three Masonic degrees: Apprentice, Companion, Master.
On the ground floor are displayed images and documents of writers, poets, musicians, painters, politicians, heroes who fought for their country: by the framers of the French Revolution to the legendary pioneers of the American West, by the protagonists of the Italian Risorgimento until famous movie actors like John Wayne.
The Documentation Center that collects periodicals, documents, patents and certificates of membership, Rituals of various orders and grades, movies, books, in various languages, will be available by appointment for consultation, investigation and study, for those who request it.
This museum was established to bring to the Brethren and the visiting public the rich heritage of Masonic Artifacts and Collectibles that were created and produced to commemorate many special Masonic events. Lodge Dedications – Cornerstone Layings, Anniversaries, Officer Installations, State and National Conventions were all marked and remembered by these presentation pieces which were made in glass, china, porcelain, wood, metals, coins and medallions. They were given away or sold as fundraisers to those friends, family and brethren who were in attendance. These artifacts are truly symbolic of the perfection our forefathers strived to achieve in their daily lives.
United States of America
Established in 1975 by the Scottish Rite Freemasons of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library tells the story of Freemasonry and fraternalism in the context of American history.
Unique in the nation, the Museum aims to be the “historical society” of American Freemasonry by collecting, preserving, interpreting and celebrating the history of fraternalism. We pay special attention to the history of the Scottish Rite and strive to serve the Masonic community.
The Museum’s collection related to American Freemasonry, fraternalism, and American history numbers more than 17,000 objects. The Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives research collection comprise 60,000 books, 1,600 serial titles and 2,000 cubic feet of archival materials. The Museum also manages an additional 10,000 objects and documents from the collection of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts under a long-term loan agreement.
The Worcestershire Masonic Library and Museum possesses the finest collection of Masonic items in the English constitution, other than that belonging to the United Grand Lodge of England itself, which is housed at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, Freemasons Hall, London.
The exhibits include a selection of engraved glass, much of it from the 19th century, and almost all of it very attractive to the layman, as well as of interest to the Mason. We also have a very large display of ceramics, including jugs, dishes and tankards, many of which are decorated with Masonic symbols and date from the late 18th and early 19th centuries. We have many masonic curiosities, including trivets, horse-brasses, meerschaum pipes, unusual gavels and other such Masonic bric-a-brac. Our curators have assembled a remarkable collection of historic medals and jewels, covering the Craft and Royal Arch, and a very large group of more modern jewels pertaining to Worcestershire Lodges and Chapters. There are several items of antique regalia, including pictorial and hand-painted aprons, some dating from 18th century France, together with a number of unusual items of Lodge furniture.