Past Exhibitions Archivesmonh_admin2018-02-01T14:00:11-05:00
Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library Past Exhibitions Archive
With Banners Waving
A Sublime Brotherhood
Journeys and Discoveries
Threads of Brotherhood
Collecting at the Museum…
Fight, Save, Buy, Wake Up!
The Enchanted Clocks
Made in Massachusetts
Sowing the Seeds of Liberty
Inspired by Fashion
American Family Treasures
The Initiated Eye
The Art of the Movie Theatre
Jim Henson’s Fantastic World
For All Time
The Way We Worked
The Grand Lodge of MA
A Penny for Your Thoughts
Keepers of Tradition
Augustus Frederick Sherman
There’ll be a hot time…
To Fly to the Aid of Humanity
To Build and Sustain
Unlocking the Code
Pets in America
The Art of the Needle
For Every Fighter…
19th Century Patents
Handled with Care
Journey Out of Darkness
Gershwin to Gillespie
Picturing What Matters
Memories of World War II
The Western Pursuit…
Close-Up in Film Posters
Deep Inside the Blues
A Changing World
Lunch Box Memories
Hatch Show Print’s…
Artist to Icon
Coming Up on the Season
New England Neon
North and South U.S. Route 1
The Last Cowboy
From Dairy to Doorstep
Return to Route 66
Designing in the Wright Style
A Sublime Brotherhood
Scottish Rite Active Member Sculpture, 1983. Robert Burdette, Pekin, Illinois. Gift of the Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, U.S.A., 2009.066.43. Photo by David Bohl
The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library announces the opening of the major exhibition, “A Sublime Brotherhood: Two Hundred Years of Scottish Rite Freemasonry in the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction.” The exhibition celebrates the 200th anniversary of the fraternity, which today encompasses 165,000 members in fifteen states. The exhibition is ongoing.
Through more than 100 objects and images ranging from decorative arts and paintings to stage costumes and folk art, “A Sublime Brotherhood” invites the visitor to travel through time to learn about the people who shaped the Scottish Rite’s Northern Masonic Jurisdiction and also about the fraternity’s contribution to its communities. Freemasonry is a fraternal organization for men that teaches a system of ethics using symbols, rituals and ideas drawn from stonemasons’ regulations, Enlightenment philosophy and Judeo-Christian teachings. It seeks to enhance and strengthen a man’s character by providing opportunities for fellowship, charity, education and leadership. Freemasons often call the Scottish Rite “the University of Freemasonry,” as the higher degrees it confers supplement and amplify philosophical lessons by exploring the values, history and moral principles that guide members.
Auditorium Showing Stage, Masonic Cathedral, A.A.S.R., Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, 1908. J.E. Roys, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library Purchase, A96/066/1150. Photo by David Bohl
While most people assume the Scottish Rite was established in Scotland, it was actually founded in France in the mid-1700s. Early Scottish Rite organizations were started in places like the Dominican Republic and the West Indies, eventually taking root in upstate New York, New Orleans, and Philadelphia. On May 31, 1801, the Scottish Rite formalized its existence in the United States when members gathered in Charleston, South Carolina, and opened a meeting of the “Supreme Council 33° of Freemasonry.” This body has survived to the present day and is now known as the Scottish Rite, Southern Jurisdiction, U.S.A. In the early 1800s, several prominent Masons established organizations in New York that competed with the Charleston Supreme Council. After much deliberation, in 1813 the Charleston Supreme Council granted a charter that established and gave sovereignty to the Supreme Council, 33°, for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction of the United States of America. This historic charter is included in the exhibition.
“Fourteenth Degree” and “Provost and Judge [7°],” The Rituals of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, 1869. Israel Thorndike Hunt (1841-1905), Nashua, New Hampshire. Collection of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, SC155, R-230. Photo by David Bohl
“A Sublime Brotherhood” delves into many facets of Masonic history including the era of growth and prosperity from 1867 through the 1920s. During these years, the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction adopted a new constitution, consolidated existing local groups (called Valleys), and established new ones. The exhibition also explores the ritual regalia used by Scottish Rite members in the 1800s and 1900s. Israel Thorndike Hunt’s hand painted illustration of a member dressed for the 7th degree, “Provost and Judge,” from The Rituals of the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, 1869, allows visitors to see some of the regalia from the mid 1800s.
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction crafted new, elaborate theatrical rituals for which they became well known. Instead of initiating a few men at a time, the staged degrees were viewed by hundreds of men at once.
These new ritual productions, as well as a membership that had grown to over 213,000 brothers, prompted local Scottish Rite leaders throughout the Jurisdiction to find or build new structures that would accommodate their increasing membership. The Masonic Cathedral built in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, in the early 1900s is reflective of this trend. A 1908 postcard of the Cathedral’s grand stage on view in the exhibition speaks to this vibrant period of growth within the Scottish Rite.
Scottish Rite Rose Croix Apron, 1820-1850. Unidentified Maker. France. Gift of the Supreme Council, The Netherlands, 81.30. Photo by David Bohl
The Great Depression adversely affected the Jurisdiction’s impressive membership gains made during the early 1920s, leading to a decrease of 100,000 Scottish Rite members by 1941. The fraternity, however, soon recovered. Melvin Maynard Johnson (1871-1957) took the reins of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction in 1933 and led the fraternity through the Great Depression and World War II. Johnson also made great contributions to the Supreme Council’s charitable programs. By the time Johnson retired in 1953, the membership of the Scottish Rite rebounded from 208,393 to 422,051.
During the early 1970s, the Scottish Rite Supreme Council moved its offices from downtown Boston to Lexington, Massachusetts. The new location allowed space for a house for the Sovereign Grand Commander and to construct the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library. Scottish Rite leaders continued to pursue charitable projects during the 1980s and 1990s. A membership-sponsored college scholarship program was introduced, as well as a network of learning centers to help children overcome the challenge of dyslexia. Recently, the fraternity has renewed its focus on its members and worked to strengthen the fund which helps brothers and their families when they encounter unexpected obstacles. Member loyalty to the fraternity is seen in the charming sculpture by Robert Burdette, which depicts a Scottish Rite Mason wearing a cap signifying his status as an Active Member.
Current Sovereign Grand Commander John William McNaughton has called attention to the fraternity’s need for change. Technology is used to enhance convenience for members, with some degrees are now available on DVD. This allows Valleys to present the degrees more frequently and more cost-effectively.
Said Sovereign Grand Commander John William McNaughton, “The Scottish Rite remains focused on strengthening the bonds of brotherhood. Just as the founding members did in 1813, today’s members come together for fellowship and fun. While we cannot see what will happen over the next 100 years, members will stay true to the basic principles behind the Scottish Rite while we adapt, evolve, and grow with the times.”
Franklin Opening the Lodge, 1896. Kurz and Allison (partnership 1880-1899), Chicago, IL. Special Acquisitions Fund, 81.56. Photo by David Bohl.
Washington as a Freemason, 1870. Strobridge and Company, Cincinnati, OH. Special Acquisitions Fund, 78.74.18. Photo by David Bohl.
Throughout the 1800s, Freemasonry and similar organizations experienced a great surge in popularity. By 1900, over six million people belonged to American fraternal groups, many of which were inspired by Freemasonry. The prevalence of these groups in American culture was expressed in many ways, among them, the numerous intriguing and colorful prints produced from the 1700s through the 1900s.
Benjamin Franklin’s (1706-1790) lifelong commitment to Freemasonry is celebrated in this print. After becoming a Freemason in Philadelphia in 1731, he was active in the fraternity for over 50 years. Franklin’s status as a cherished hero of the American Revolution made publishers realize that this print would appeal to lodges across the nation.
During the 1800s, prints and engravings of famous American figures were very popular. Perhaps no hero sold more prints than George Washington (1732-1799). Initiated as a Freemason in Virginia, Washington was revered by his brethren, then and now.
Scottish Rite Banner,1890-1930, American. Gift of the Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, U.S.A., 2011.017
By 1900, over 250 fraternal groups existed in the United States, numbering six million members. Banners were an important component of American fraternal activities. These colorful textiles were used inside lodges and also in public parades, at cornerstone layings and at other ceremonies. Many fraternal groups included their banner when they took formal portraits. Parade accessories and images showing how banners were used during the 1800s and 1900s are also presented.
This banner received much-needed conservation treatment as part of a grant awarded to the Museum by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Prior to treatment it showed damage from long-term exposure to the environment and stress from gravity. Windsor Conservation of Dover, Massachusetts, cleaned and stabilized the most critical structural damage, and re-attached fringe trimming, the valance. They also repaired the banner’s decorative tassels.
Secret Scripts: Masonic and Fraternal Ritual Books
14th degree lodge room from The Secret Directory: Book I, 1867. Published by the Supreme Council, 33°, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, Boston, MA. Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives Collection, RARE 14.71 .D4-14 1867. Photo by David Bohl.
The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum’s Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives maintains a large collection Masonic and fraternal ritual books and manuscripts. Sixteen of these important works are on view in the library’s reading room in the exhibition “Secret Scripts: Masonic and Fraternal Ritual Books.”
”Secret Scripts” features rituals of the Symbolic Lodge, the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry – including its well-known 33° – and rituals of other fraternal organizations that were influenced by Freemasonry. Objects on view range from a handwritten 33° degree ritual from 1801 to a printed Masonic cipher from the 1930s. All are historic and do not represent present-day ritual.
Ceremonial initiation is a defining element of Freemasonry and of other fraternal groups. During initiations, candidates participate in a series of dramatic ritual ceremonies called “degrees.” These degrees teach moral and ethical lessons through symbol and drama. For members, ritual presents an opportunity to initiate new members through a solemn, dramatic ceremony that they have experienced themselves.
Ritual initiation degrees can be thought of as plays, which feature the candidate as the main protagonist, while other members of the lodge take on other dramatic roles in the cast. Most ritual degrees involve a journey – narratively, figuratively, or, oftentimes, both. Ritual books – like those on display in the exhibition – contain the scripts to these plays. As with a play, the participants memorize their lines. These books were not used during the degree ceremony, but to help participants prepare.
Non-members have long been fascinated with ritual because of its association with secrecy. Members of fraternal organizations have not always agreed about what parts of ritual may be described and what should not be divulged to the uninitiated. Organizations privately published ritual books and distributed them to members. Many Masonic rituals have been printed in cipher, insuring that, even if a non-member saw a ritual book, he could not read it.
Ritual initiation is an experience that, some initiates say, one must go through in order to comprehend. Although ritual books and manuscripts are essential to ritual, they are just one piece of a dramatic whole. The objects on view in the exhibition offer us a glimpse into the mysteries of initiation that—over time—all new candidates have come seeking.
Novi Belgii Novaeque Angliae nec non Pennsylvaniae et partis Virginiae Tabula, ca. 1680. Published by Justus Danckers or Danckerts (1635–1701), Amsterdam, Netherlands. Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives, 006-75. Photograph by David Bohl.
What is a map? Maps are data; layers of text, images and symbols that represent a place at a certain time. Maps can help us find our way, imagine far away places or understand political and geographical relationships. The Museum and Library, founded in 1975, counted historic maps among its first acquisitions. The 40 maps and related objects presented in a new exhibition, “Journeys and Discoveries: The Stories Maps Tell” draw on the Museum’s outstanding holdings in that area.
The exhibition is divided in to five sections, and explores the world of maps from the work of the cartographer to how students have learned from maps, how travelers used maps for real and imagined journeys, and how politicians and merchants employed maps to further their quests for power and influence.
Carte Tres Curieuse de la Mer du Sud…, 1719. Compiled and published by the Chatelain family, Zacharie Chatelain (d. 1723) and Henri Abraham Chatelain (1684-1743), Amsterdam, Holland. Van Gorden-Williams Library and Archives, 001-1975 1719. Photograph by David Bohl.
Crafting these complicated images required the work of many hands. To create a map, a mapmaker needed a survey of the area he wished to map. A surveyor measured the land using compasses, chains and other tools and then plotted this information on a survey. A cartographer turned surveys and other information into a drawing, or manuscript map. Draftsmen and engravers translated the cartographer’s drawing onto a plate from which multiple copies of the map could be made. Printers and publishers produced, marketed and sold maps. Working together, these craftsmen left us valuable and intriguing records of the past.
Maps for Professionals and Students In the 1600s and 1700s, pursuing certain professions required a thorough understanding of how to make and use maps. Surveyors, soldiers and sea captains needed to be able to read—and often create—maps to do their jobs. Merchants and politicians also employed maps in their work.
Game of the States, ca. 1960. Manufactured by the Milton Bradley Company, Springfield, Massachusetts. Gift of Mrs. John Willey, 2006.026.2
In the 1800s, maps became increasingly available. As the U.S. grew, surveyors and cartographers measured, explored and mapped more of the country. Advances in printing technology and brisk competition between publishers made maps more affordable and readily obtainable. Schools taught geography and map literacy to children. Educators encountered an understanding of the outlines and geographical components of the country as a way of developing citizenship and fostering a shared national identity. To these ends, many publishers produced educational and ornamental maps to help teach students, some even manufactured map-based games to help children and families learn more about the U.S. including Milton Bradley’s popular “Game of States,” which is still manufactured today.
United States Chart of Knowledge, ca. 1931. Published by S.G. Bocholtz, Chart of Knowledge Co. of America, Boston, Massachusetts. Gift of Dorothy A. and Albert H. Richardson, 85.53.18
Many maps—from a depiction of an entire continent to a survey of a single property—were created to let people know who owns what. Many maps of North America printed in the 1700s reflect power struggles between European nations as well as Native American nations’ waning influence on the continent. The beautiful ca. 1680 Novi Belgii Novaeque Angliae… demonstrates that even as the Netherlands’ power waned in the North America, Amsterdam mapmakers continued to produce decorative maps that celebrated the Dutch mark on and understanding of the continent.
Wars also breed maps. In addition to charting political conflicts, maps can also show how battles unfolded. For example, to help British news consumers follow important events during the American Revolution, London mapmakers published many views of the far-off colonies and towns where British soldiers and colonists fought for territory as illustrated in the 1775 handsome map, “A Plan of the Town and Harbour of Boston ….” World War II prompted the publication of countless maps. Some helped the public stay informed, while others were designed for soldiers’ specific needs. A silk escape and evasion map of the far east owned by a Massachusetts airman is included in the exhibition.
Journeys of the Imagination
For years, explorers and adventurers have published maps to illustrate where they have been and depict what they encountered there. Some of the maps displayed in this exhibition, published with accompanying expedition narratives, took readers on journeys to the Oregon, Utah, and Northwestern Territories they could not have experienced in person. Combined with narratives, these maps helped a curious reader trace an explorer’s footsteps without ever having to leave home. These exploration and travel maps continue to spark the imagination. Looking at them, we can envision expeditions, discoveries and adventures, and—most intriguingly—the past.
Join Museum staff for free talks in the “Journeys and Discoveries” gallery. To see the dates and times of these programs, please refer to our programs page.
Threads of Brotherhood: Masonic Quilts and Textiles
Lady Liberty Lights the Way, 1985. Nancy M. Crasco, Massachusetts. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, Gift of Nancy Crasco, 2010.006. Photo by David Bohl.
“Threads of Brotherhood: Masonic Quilts and Textiles,” is a new exhibition of more than 25 quilts, coverlets, needlework pictures, and hooked rugs opening at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library on June 16, 2012. Drawn from the Museum’s collection, the exhibition tells a compelling story of connected lives and shared values.
In 1900, there were almost one million Freemasons in the United States. Though often viewed as a secret, closed society, Freemasonry was actually visible in almost every American community during the 1800s and 1900s. And, while only men could be members of mainstream lodges, their wives and daughters were not completely excluded. They could join Masonic female auxiliaries, recognize Masonic symbols, and demonstrate this knowledge with their needles.
Masonic Quilt, 1880–1920. Probably Ohio. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, Museum Purchase, 2002.008. Photo by David Bohl.
Textiles incorporating Masonic symbols, both home made and commercially manufactured, have served many functions since the 1700s, such as transmitting family memories and history as they became heirlooms passed down through generations, signifying family identification with Freemasonry, and offering their makers a voice to demonstrate knowledge of the fraternity. A redwork quilt designed by Freemason Freeland R. Bunker (1845-1909) and sewn by seamstress Celestia Milliken (b. ca. 1853), both of Winter Harbor, Maine, in 1908, shows 72 different Masonic symbols. The quilt was originally presented to Hilliard Smallridge (1867-1926) around the time he was elected Senior Steward of his lodge.
Quilts also function as educational tools – teaching other family members about Masonic symbols and reminding the Mason of the lessons he learned in the lodge. And, like the quilts used to fundraise for political causes, Masonic quilts and textiles were – and still are – sometimes used to raise money for Masonic projects and charities. The ladies of Malta Commandery No. 21 made one of the newer quilts in the exhibition to raise funds for the Knights Templar Eye Foundation. The quilt, incorporating the emblems of many Masonic groups, was completed in November 1977 and showed at several events in 1978 before being presented to the Museum in 1979.
Trust In God, ca. 1875. Unidentified Maker. American. Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, Gift of the Estate of Charles V. Hagler, 85.20.18. Photo by David Bohl.
Freemasonry is a fraternal organization that teaches a system of ethics through the use of rituals and symbols. The fraternity endeavors to enhance and strengthen the character of individual members by providing opportunities for fellowship, charity, education and leadership. The exact origins of Freemasonry remain unknown. At some point during the 1500s or 1600s in England and Scotland, groups of working, or operative, stonemasons created lodges into which they initiated members from both within and outside the trade. While older guilds of stonemasons focused primarily on regulating the trade and protecting its secrets, these newer groups pursued social and charitable activities. The lodges developed what became known as speculative Freemasonry, which uses metaphors based on the traditions and tools of operative masonry to convey a system of ideas and ethics unconnected to actual building practices.
Freemasonry, although perhaps best known for its perceived secrecy and its men-only membership, in reality has few true secrets. Masons have relied on auxiliary groups of women for centuries to help them fundraise, to provide refreshments and decoration in the lodge, to sew their regalia, and even to assist them with learning their rituals at home. By stitching a quilt or hooking a rug, a woman could support her husband’s Masonic activities, while also learning about it from him and feeling connected not only to her husband, but also to her larger community. Creating these objects may also have offered an opportunity to display her skill to a larger community.
Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography
Jack Dykinga, Toroweap Overlook in Morning Light, 1987. Photo courtesy Jack Dykinga.
The Grand Canyon is wild and unforgiving. But it is also one of the most stunning landscapes on Earth—a place for recreation, reflection and reverence. A new Smithsonian exhibition allows us to marvel at this natural wonder without camping equipment, emergency rations or rappelling ropes.
Featuring 60 color photographs, “Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography” is a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service and the Grand Canyon Association. The exhibition will be on view at the Museum from October 13, 2012 through January 5, 2013, and will continue on a national tour through the remainder of the year.
John Blaustein, Bighorn Sheep in 140-Mile Canyon, 1972. Photo courtesy John Blausteinl.
“Lasting Light” reveals the dedication of those who have attempted to capture the Grand Canyon on film from the earliest days to modern times. Covering nearly 125 years of photographic history, the exhibition includes images of early photographers dangling from cables to get the perfect shot, their cumbersome camera equipment balanced precariously on their shoulders. More modern images are bold and dramatic, revealing the canyon’s capricious weather, its flora and fauna, waterfalls and wading pools, and awe-inspiring cliffs and rock formations. The stunning contemporary images were selected by representatives from Eastman Kodak’s Professional Photography Division and National Geographic.
Jack Dykinga, Snow Covered Ponderosa Pine, North Rim, 1992. Photo courtesy Jack Dykinga.
Grand Canyon National Park, 2,000 square miles of snaking river beds and sheer rock walls, is a world like no other, where vibrant cliffs and flowing water create a striking complement to the Western sky. “What you do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and for all who come after you, as one of the great sights which every American should see,” Teddy Roosevelt urged. Roosevelt, ever the naturalist, was just one of the canyon’s devotees. There are millions of others, including the 26 featured photographers of “Lasting Light,” who ran the river and climbed the rocks to capture these breathtaking images.
“The Grand Canyon taught me a way of seeing. How to see light and design,” said featured photographer John Blaustein. This and other intriguing narratives accompany the spectacular photographs, giving audiences the artists’ personal insight into the power of the Canyon.
SITES has been sharing the wealth of Smithsonian collections and research programs with millions of people outside Washington, D.C., for more than 50 years. SITES connects Americans to their shared cultural heritage through a wide range of exhibitions about art, science and history, which are shown wherever people live, work and play. Exhibition descriptions and tour schedules are available at www.sites.si.edu.
The Grand Canyon Association is a non-profit, membership organization founded to support education, scientific research and other programs for the benefit of Grand Canyon National Park and its visitors. www.grandcanyon.org
Collecting At the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library
Mantel Clock, 1800s, France, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library , gift of Mrs. Willis R. Michael, 85.108.10a-b. Photograph by David Bohl.
From a plastic cowboy hat made for Lyndon Johnson’s campaign from president, to Masonic items from the Civil War, to handsome shelf clocks, a new exhibition at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library sheds light on what the Museum collects and why. The Museum actively works to improve and refine its collection of over 17,000 objects through gifts and purchases—adding items to the collection that tell an engaging story about American history. The new exhibition, “Collecting at the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library,” features 16 objects new to the collection, and 12 clocks from the Willis Michael Clock Collection. The installation is ongoing.
The Museum’s primary strength is its American Masonic and fraternal items. As one of the largest groups of objects of this kind in the United States, the Museum’s holdings include over 400 fraternal aprons, over 2,500 fraternal badges and pieces of jewelry, and more than 1,000 items of Masonic and fraternal regalia. The symbols on a, 1800s Indiana cupboard, one of the new items on view, suggest that the local Order of the Eastern Star group organized their papers in one section, while the town’s Masonic lodge used the other two.
Bowl, 1796-1800, Liverpool, England. Museum purchase through the generosity of Stanley N. Howard Sr., Roland B. Greenley, M.R. Langdell, and the Harvey Leggee Collection of Shrine and Fraternal Material, 2010.052. Photograph by David Bohl.
A new Masonic building was constructed in Madison in 1871 and the cupboard may have been made or purchased around that time.
The Museum also collects material related to American history. The cowboy hat on display reflects Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 campaign image of a born-and-bred Texan. A number of rare Masonic objects dating from the Civil War years are also on view. The pins and chevras worn by soldiers indicated their Masonic membership on the battlefield.
Mantel Clock, 1880–1890, Theodore B. Starr (1837–1907), New York, New York, Scottish Rite Masonic Museum and Library, gift of Mrs. Willis R. Michael, 85.108.3a-b. Photograph by David Bohl.
A number of notable acquisitions from the Willis Michael’s Clock Collection are highlighted. The passion and generosity of collectors like Willis and Ruth Michael have enhanced the Museum’s holdings and allowed us to tell a wide range of stories. Starting in the 1970s, Ruth Michaels’ gift of more than 140 clocks, watches, and tools from her husband’s collection formed the core of the Museum’s timepiece holdings. She donated the items in honor of the many friendships Mr. Michael had formed through his life-long participation in Freemasonry. On view are stunning clocks including one featuring Mnemosyne, the Greek goddess of memory and time, and a charming and whimsical timepiece in the shape of an owl.
The Museum’s collection helps inform visitors about American history, especially the wide variety of fraternal groups that have been part of our national story, and demonstrate the role that Masonic and fraternal organizations have played—and continue to play—in American life. Visit the Museum’s website at www.nationalheritagemuseum.org to read blog posts about the collection, and to access a searchable database of selections from the collection. To discuss a donation of objects or archival materials to the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library, please contact the Museum at 781-861-6559.
Masonic Doorstop, late 1800s, United States or England. Museum Purchase, 2009.072. Photograph by David Bohl.
Masonic Civil War ID Pin, ca. 1861, United States. Gift of Jacques Noel Jacobsen Jr., 2009.021.24. Photograph by David Bohl.
Fight or Buy Bonds, 1917. Howard Chandler Christy (1873-1952). Printed by the Forbes Company, Boston, MA. National Heritage Museum, Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives, gift of H. Brian Holland, A96/089/08. Photo by Joe Ofria.
Sow the Seeds of Victory!, 1918. James Montgomery Flagg (1877-1860), United States. National Heritage Museum, Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives, gift of Andrew S. Dibner. 2000/37/05
Throughout America’s participation in World War I–from April 1917 through November 1918–colorful and compelling posters exhorted Americans to fight, conserve food, and buy bonds. At the beginning of the war, volunteer artists formed the Division of Pictorial Publicity of the Committee on Public Information. The Division created a host of advertisements, including 700 poster designs. Millions of their posters hung in public spaces and workplaces–citizens could not escape their pressing and persuasive messages.
The Museum is featuring a selection of these World War I posters from our collection in the new exhibition, “Fight, Save, Buy, Wake Up!.” The twenty posters gathered in this exhibition in our corridor space offer a glimpse of a time when Americans, facing uncertain outcomes, responded to their government’s urgent requests to help the war effort.
Posters helped recruit soldiers. They also drummed up dollars. To help finance the war, the U. S. Treasury sold savings bonds, called Liberty Loans. An army of volunteers promoted these bonds door-to-door and at rallies. Posters and other advertising for the bonds emphasized the importance of civilian participation in the fundraising effort. Four Liberty Loans and one Victory Loan, organized after the fighting concluded, helped the government raise billions of needed dollars.
Along with money, Americans conserved and produced food to support the war. According to Herbert Hoover, then head of the United States Food Administration, food was “second only to military action,” in winning the war. Hoover crafted policies and organized the logistics that allowed America to feed citizens, soldiers and the Allies by controlling the supply, distribution and conservation of food. To help achieve these aims, food agencies enlisted eye-catching posters urging Americans to conserve, preserve, and produce.
Animals, angels, and imagination–for years, these were the stock-in-trade of local designer George McFadden. Together with his wife, Alyce Kent McFadden, he designed sets for theaters as well as for window displays in Boston-area department stores, most notably Jordan Marsh.
When he retired from that work in the 1970s, McFadden focused his energy on fixing and making clocks, especially colorful, animated cuckoo clocks. The Museum is presenting a selection of these whimsical and charming timepieces in “The Enchanted Clocks of George McFadden.” Known to neighbors and local clock fans as an enthusiastic clock repairer, McFadden created his own distinctive style of cuckoo clocks.
These delightful and eye-catching clocks did more than just tell time; they told stories. McFadden crafted a version of Noah and the Ark, complete with Mrs. Noah fishing off the side and Noah dancing with animals. A comical Haunted house has dancing skeletons and the requsite bats in the belfry. A clock featuring Punch and Judy, and even a cheerful clock with a Doomsday theme will be on exhibit.
The Museum is honoring the long history of inventiveness and craftsmanship in Massachusetts with a unique exhibition featuring objects from the early 18th century to the things we use today.
“Made in Massachusetts” presents items commonly found in the Massachusetts home during the last three centuries, from high-style decorative arts to the most mundane of household objects to the latest in computer technology now found in many homes. Themes include games and toys, with classic board games from Milton Bradley Company and Parker Brothers, along with examples of contemporary toys.
Representing the eclectic range of objects on view are household items, including kitchen tools of yesterday and today, and a sewing maching (ca. 1870) housed in a finely-crafted cabinet made by the Florence Sewing Machine Co. A special display of clocks, featuring wonderful examples from the Museum’s collection of grandfather and shelf clocks, as well as a variety of contemporary timepieces, is a highlight.
Drawing, 1878-1884. Henry Karunach (d. 1888), Hampton, Virginia. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George D. Payne.
“Curators’ Choice: Favorites from the Collection” is a selection of the staff’s pick of objects from the Museum and Library holdings. Staff members chose the nearly 150 objects on view for different reasons: aesthetic, intellectual, and emotional. Some admired the craftsmanship, while others were attracted to the story about a specific event in American history. Remembrances of family, or items simply thought humorous also guided the staff’s choices.
“The objects we make, buy, give, save or display in our homes speak volumes about who we are as individuals and as members of a larger society,” said Hilary Anderson Stelling, Director of Exhibitions and Audience Development. “They reflect not only our personal preferences, but also our values and beliefs, the time and place in which we acquired them, and the reasons we kept them. We give meaning to objects, whether they are valuable art, souvenirs from a fun vacation, or gifts that remind us of the giver.”
Cover, The Shrine Magazine, February 1927. Charles Buckles Falls (1874-1960), New York, New York. Gift of Dorothy H. Trower, in memory of Ralph E. Trower.
The staff had many objects to choose from. Since its founding in 1975, the Museum has collected many thousands of books, manuscripts, paintings, household items, toys, and pieces of clothing, from early colonial times to the present. Stelling chose a late 19th-century drawing of a Plains Indian artifact by Henry Karunach to include in the exhibition. Karunach was a student at the Hampton Institute, which taught trades, English language and other subjects with the now dubiously regarded goal of “civilizing” young Native Americans. Said Stelling, “We know only a little about Karunach and his experience at the school, but I have long been intrigued by this little painting of a Plains Indian artifact. I wonder if a teacher assigned the subject to Karunach or if he chose to draw this object because he felt homesick.”
Sponsored by the Scottish Rite Masons of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, the Museum is known for its Masonic and fraternal materials, both those used in lodges in rituals and those used by Masons and their families in their homes. Collections Manager Maureen Harper was drawn to a Tall Cedars of Lebanon hat and case because of its peculiarity, as well as remembrances of family and community. “I agree with Christopher Hodapp, author of Freemasons for Dummies, who called the Tall Cedars of Lebanon’s pyramid-shaped hat ‘the oddest of fraternal headgear.’ The triangular, plastic zippered pouch to carry it seems just as odd. Still, it reminds me of men from the 1950s, like my father, who were proud of their community service—which, for the Tall Cedars, meant raising funds for muscular dystrophy research—and of their association with a fraternal group.”
Tall Cedars of Lebanon Hat, 1960-1980. Probably American. Gift of Barry R. Stocker, Past Supreme Tall Cedar, 2001.056.1. Photograph by David Bohl.
Dean Lahikainen, the Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Peabody Essex Museum will present an accompanying lecture, “The Art of Collecting: A Curator’s Personal Journey” on Saturday, October 23 at 2 pm. He will discuss our fascination with historical objects and show us some of his personal favorites. The lecture is free and is made possible by the Lowell Institute.
The Museum hopes that through the exhibition the public will enjoy the objects from the collection, and that it will inspire visitors to think about what heirlooms and other belongings mean to them.
Sowing the Seeds of Liberty: Lexington and the American Revolution
“Sowing the Seeds of Liberty,” is the Museum’s new cornerstone exhibition on Lexington and the American Revolution. This new long-term installation is designed to stimulate new ways of thinking about the battle at Lexington on April 19, 1775, a conflict that has long sparked the American imagination.
The story in the “Seeds of Liberty” is told through the eyes and voices of the people who shaped our nation’s struggle for independence. Much of the exhibition’s focus centers on two main Lexington leaders, John Parker and Jonas Clarke.
Parker, among the many roles he played, was the elected captain of the local militia. He was in charge of the men on the town common when the British regiment arrived from Boston. Legend has it that his last order to his men was “Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.” The other, Jonas Clarke, was minister of the local church. He was a strong and well-respected voice in favor of independence. “Seeds of Liberty,” however, makes clear that the revolution involved more than those that stood on the Green. The entire town was involved. The idea of revolution permeated all facets of life. In the small town of Lexington, everyone was connected, either by family, trade, or church–often by all three. The exhibition’s organization reveals the story in seven sections.
Introduction In Lexington ca. 1774, everyone was a farmer. People may have had other jobs, such as blacksmith, cooper or wheelwright, but all were tied to the land. Every man was also citizen-soldier. A compelling image in the introduction underscores that theme as a farmer transforms into a soldier and then back again. Images and artifacts relating to farming — especially dairy farming — are on display in this section.
The Loring Kitchen Visitors are introduced to family life in the 1770s through the Loring family. Visitors meet the Lorings in their kitchen where the family of five women, two men, and a baby worked and gathered. Visitors learn about the tasks the Loring girls undertook such as making cheese and butter, cooking, cleaning and producing wool, all of which contributed to the family economy. Visitors have a chance to see how the Loring’s world connected to the larger world of trade.
Taxes, Trade, and Tension The roots of the revolution are revealed here, and visitors learn how tension mounted in the region over several years. Historic, as well as not-so-famous protests are examined, such as the Boston Tea Party and the lesser-known Lexington Tea Bonfire. A video tells the story as seen through the eyes of Paul Revere of the gathering storm from 1765-1774. Known chiefly for his “midnight ride,” this famous patriot was also a Freemason, a silversmith, and a political cartoonist, and he maintained strong ties to Lexington.
John Parker Wheelwright In addition to is historic role on Lexington Green, John Parker was a local businessman. Primarily a wheelwright, the talented Captain Parker also crafted furniture, barrels, tools and presses. Through examples of the kinds of tools Parker used, several of which visitors can try themselves, the exhibition brings Parker’s world to life.
Common Cause: The Role of the Meeting House Lexington residents discussed political matters and also tended to spiritual matters in the meeting house. The Reverend Jonas Clarke occupied a unique position in Lexington as both a spiritual and political leader. As tensions built over a period of years, townspeople initiated military preparations at the meeting house. They stockpiled military supplies in the building, including storing gun powder under the pulpit. Lights and sound are used to transform the meeting house from a place of town business to a house of worship.
Confrontation on the Common Here visitors learn how the events of April 19, 1775 unfolded. The visitor begins the journey with the march of the British regulars from Boston, to Paul Reveres ride, to the skirmish in Lexington, concluding with the British retreat to Boston. (The print shown is by Amos Doolittle titled “The Battle of Lexington, April 19, 1775.” Courtesy of the Connecticut Historical Society, Hartford, CT.)
An Enduring Symbol The final area examines the Battle of Lexington as an enduring symbol. The question, “Where are they now?” is answered through epilogues about many of the chief players in the day’s drama. Visitors can also share why April 19, 1775, is important to them.
For the past 15 years, photographer Quang-Tuan Luong has traveled across the United States, treasure hunting. Not for gold or hidden oil reserves, but to capture in photographs the spectacular beauty of our national parks. Luong has single-handedly documented all 58 U.S. national parks, a feat that no other photographer has accomplished. The result of his quest is featured in the exhibition, “Treasured Lands: The Fifty-Eight U.S. National Parks in Focus.”
To get his pictures, Luong kayaked through iceberg-laden waters, canoed down wild rivers, scuba-dived tropical seas, climbed to the summit of Mt. McKinley, and frequently trekked the trailless terrain of the backcountry, all while lugging his 75-pound, large-format camera, photo gear, and camping equipment. He once had to sacrifice his gear to escape a bear attack.
“Treasured Lands” offers the perspective of a world traveler who is deeply committed to preserving America’s beauty and natural resources. By capturing the distinguishing features of each national park, Luong developed an exceptional understanding of what makes a particular place unique. His commitment to highlight these national treasures also serves as a silent, but urgent, call to conservation. Luong grew up in France and trained as a scientist, earning his Ph.D. at the University of Paris. His love for nature and adventure led him to become a mountain climber, wilderness guide, and world traveler. He initially planned to stay in America for only a few years to explore Yosemite. His discovery of the beauty and varie