The charge was to “tell a thrilling story”— 
the story of our nation and of the central role 
so many Freemasons played, and continue 
to play, in our history. 

The Scottish Rite  

Masonic Museum & Library – 

From the Beginning

 

I

n 1968, the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite acquired a 21-acre 
parcel of land in Lexington, Massachusetts, for the construction of a 
headquarters building. Ideas for a broader use of this prime acreage 

quickly developed. Then-Sovereign Grand Commander George A. Newbury 
proposed the construction of a national museum and library of fraternal  
and American history.

Newbury contended that the fundamental moral and philosophical 
traditions of Freemasonry would be enhanced and extended by fostering 
deeper knowledge of American history, encouraging patriotism and love 
of country, and inspiring respect for our flag. He also reasoned that since 
so many prominent Freemasons played a significant role in the founding 
of our nation—from George Washington, to Benjamin Franklin, to Paul 
Revere, John Hancock, and others—it would be appropriate and meaningful 
for the Scottish Rite to sponsor a museum and library. With the nation’s 
bicentennial just a few years away, there was no better time to inaugurate 
such an institution. The charge was to “tell a thrilling story”—the story  
of our nation and of the central role so many Freemasons played, and 
continue to play, in our history. 

The Museum’s mission was defined in simple yet powerful terms to:

• Inspire patriotism and love of country in future generations, and to

preserve fraternal and American history. 

• Maintain and extend the ideals upon which our nation was founded

• Promote a deeper appreciation of the tenets of Freemasonry—integrity,

service to others, and brotherhood.

Officers of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts conducting 
cornerstone laying ceremony for Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & 
Library, March 10, 1974. MNH 001.016

View of Museum & Library under construction, May 6, 1973. 
Construction and Dedication Photos, MNH 010.

Groundbreaking ceremony for Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, 
February 5, 1973. Pictured (l to r): Wallace R. Creelman of Turner 
Construction, Sovereign Grand Commander George A. Newbury, and 
Hugh Shepley, of the architectural firm Shepley Bulfinch Richardson 
and Abbott. Construction and Dedication Photos, MNH 010.

On April 20, 1975, almost 200 years to the day since the first battle of the 
American Revolution, the Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite Northern 
Masonic Jurisdiction dedicated the new museum and library. 

From the beginning the Supreme Council held high expectations for the  
institution, wanting it to “assume top rank in its field as quickly as possible,” 
and it did just that. The Museum & Library continues to uphold this standard 
of excellence today.