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A

t the Museum & Library, we do our  
best to keep our supporters connected 
to our exhibitions, programs, and   

collection. Our new Masonic Resource Guide 
is an email recap designed to give you an  
at-a-glance view of news, staff activities, and 
other resources you can use and enjoy.  
 The guide features news and other  
noteworthy items including where and when  
Museum staff are presenting lectures and  
talks. You can learn about initiatives like the  
Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives new 
online catalog, which is featured on page 3  
of this newsletter. Exhibition updates and   
information about special programs like our 
“Perspectives on American Freemasonry and 
Fraternalism Symposium” on Friday, April 11, 
2014, are presented for easy referral. We  
also feature interesting blog posts, recent  
additions to the collection, and new books  
and publications.  
 If you would like to sign up for the Masonic  
Resource Guide, you can visit our website  
at 

www.monh.org

 and click on “Join Our   

E-mailing List.” Or you can email Linda Patch 
at 

lpatch@monh.org

 and she will add you  

to the distribution.  
 Don’t forget, you can also subscribe to our 
popular blog, visited by hundreds of readers 
each day, at 

http://nationalheritagemuseum.

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museumandlibrary

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 We hope you find all the ways we reach  
out to you of service and useful!  
 

I

n 1923 Dorothy Richardson and her younger brother, Albert, 
received a card describing a special gift coming to them from 
their cousin, Caroline Pitkin. Pitkin, an artist living in New
York City, packed a small cardboard box containing natural

treasures—bark, small stones and a seal’s tooth—and carefully  
selected souvenirs from her travels to Europe, California and other
places. With the present she gave the siblings instructions to “start 
your museum” and the promise of more artifacts to come.
Like many travelers, Pitkin had caught the souvenir bug. In the
1800s Americans became increasingly interested in identifying, 
marking and saving relics and souvenirs that physically connected 
them to places, people and events. These objects, be they fragments 
of a cherished quilt, medals crafted from copper taken from George 
Washington’s tomb, or the redwood bark and “crystals…from [an] 
amethyst cave in Nova Scotia” that Pitkin preserved, all tell us
something about their collectors and what places and events they 
deemed interesting, important or historic.
“Prized Relics: Historic Souvenirs from the Collection,” opening
June 14, 2014, will feature over eighty relics and souvenirs from  
the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library collection, as well  
as examples from the collection of the Grand Lodge of Masons in 
Massachusetts housed at the Museum. The exhibition will explore 
different kinds of relics and souvenirs connected to domestic life, 
travels, Masonic institutions and historic events dating from the  
1700s through the 1900s.  

 

Prized Relics

HiStoRiC SoUVeNiRS FRoM tHe ColleCtioN

oPenS June 14, 2014

specimen box, early 1900s. gift of Dorothy a. and albert H. richardson, Jr., 

85.53.26. photograph by David bohl.

Caroline Pitkin’s souvenirs included stones, wood samples and also carved  
boxes from Switzerland and Jerusalem. Some objects that she collected have  
since been lost, like a piece of lava from the 1906 eruption of Mt. Vesuvius  
and an intriguingly described “sea egg.” 

Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library | Spring 2014  

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