TheNorthernLight

/May2008

7

preservethispieceoflodgehistoryaslongas
possible.

Thelodgeagreedtoplacetheaprononloanatthe

museum,allowingitsuseforexhibitionandresearch
asneeded,andalsoaskedthemuseumtopursuecon-
servationtreatmentontheaprontostabilizeitscon-
dition.Tohelpaccomplishthiswork,thelodge’s
charityfundmadeagenerousdonationtothemu-
seum.

Unfortunately,documentaryrecordstellingthe

storyofwhentheapronwasmadeandwhomight
havewornitaremissing.

FortymensentapetitiontotheGrandLodgeof

Mainein1826askingtocreateAuroraLodge.
TheirrequestwasgrantedandAuroraLodgeNo.
50,wascharteredonJuly13,1826,inwhatisnow
Rockland,ME.

OnMarch23,1872,firebrokeoutinthestorebe-

neaththetown’sMasonicHall,destroyingnearlyall
ofthepropertyofthecity’sMasonicorganizations,
includingtherecordsfor1826through1858.Subse-
quentpublishedlodgerecords,through1926,provide
noclueabouttheoriginorpreviousownershipofthe
apron.

Arecentpollatalodgemeetingturnedupno

leads,althoughtheapronitselfoffersafewhints.

Thesilkapronhaslightbluepleatedsilkribbon

trimandishand-paintedwithanall-seeingeye,sun
andmoon(withsevenstars)ontheflapandan
arrangementofMasonicsymbolsonthebody.

Theorderandappearanceofthepaintedsymbols

ontheapronbearastrikingresemblancetothefron-
tispiecefromJeremyL.Cross’s(1783-1861)TheTrue
MasonicChartandHieroglyphicMonitor,
firstpub-
lishedin1819.

Thisbookbecamethebest-sellingandmostinflu-

entialsourceofMasonicsymbolismintheUnited
States.Theillustrationsinsidealsoinspiredthede-
signofthousandsofMasonicaprons.

Thedesignandmaterialshelptodatetheapronto

thelate1820sorearly1830s,soonafterAurora
Lodgewaschartered.

Theaproniscurrentlyundergoingtreatmentby

textileconservatorDeirdreWindsorofDover,MA.

Silkisafragilefiberandcandeveloptearsquite

easilyovertime.Thesetears,calledsplits,cannotbe
repaired.

Luckily,theAuroraLodgeaprondoesnothaveany

splitsinthefabric.Instead,themostpressingneeds
fortheapronwerebettersupportandstorage.

Thefirststepwastoremoveitfromitsoldframe

andacidiccardboardbackingsincetheapronshows
discolorationfromprolongedcontactwiththisback-
ing.Therearealsosomecreasesintheapronwhereit
usedtobefolded.

Windsorwillcountertheseeffectsbycleaningit

gentlywithalow-suctionvacuumfollowedbyappro-
priatedrycleaningtechniques.Thiswillreducethe
dirtyandstainedappearanceoftheapron.

Theconservatorwillalsohumidifytheaprontore-

ducethecreasesandhelppreventthesilkfromsplit-
tingforaslongaspossible.

Thistreatmentwillstabilizetheapronforitslong-

termpreservationandforpossiblefutureexhibition
bythemuseumorthelodge.

Eachofthesecollaborationshelpsthemuseumand

thelodgestoaccomplishtogetherwhatnonecould
alone.

Allareworkingtopreservethefraternity’shistory,

anessentialpartofkeepingFreemasonryalive.The
museum’scollectionofobjects,documentsandbooks
isessentialtoitsmission.

Weactivelycollectinordertobuildourunder-

standingofthepeopleandeventsofthepast.Onlyby
comparingandcontrastingthesepiecesofevidence,
particularlybylinkingmoreandmoreitemstogether,
canwetelltheexcitingandcompellingstoriesofour
Americanpast.

IwouldliketothankRichardMemmott,Kevin

McGinnis,JamesDaybochandJeffCroteaufortheir
assistancewithresearchforthisarticle.

Ifyou,yourValley,oryourlodgehaveobjectsor

documentstodonate,orifyouwouldliketodiscussa
loanwiththemuseumorrequestadviceonpreserving
orresearchinganartifact,pleasecontactAimee
Newell,CuratorofCollection,byemailat
anewell@monh.orgorbyphoneat781-457-4144.

NL

Textile 

conservator

Deirdre Windsor

works on the

apron from 

Aurora Lodge.