Welcome to Lexington, Massachusetts, home of the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library and the Scottish Rite, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction headquarters. Opened in 1975, this influential institution tells the story of Freemasonry and fraternalism in the context of American history.
Museum Collections and Exhibitions
Since its founding, the museum has actively presented exhibitions celebrating the history of fraternalism and of our nation. The Museum's latest exhibition, "The Masonic Hall of Fame: Extraordinary Freemasons in American History" is a perfect example of this endeavor, as it showcases inspiring American Freemasons and introduces visitors to the history of Freemasonry in the United States. Visitors will meet extraordinary Masons who, through their outsized contributions to Freemasonry, government, the arts, and other pursuits, made a profound impact on their world and ours. Ten Hall of Fame inductees were featured in 2021, and more will be added in 2022 and 2023. Current inductees include:
- Benjamin Franklin
- George Washington
- Prince Hall
- Lewis & Clark
- Mark Twain
- Harry Truman
- John A. Lejeune
- Irving Berlin
- John Glenn
- John Lewis
Distinctive treasures from the museum's collections are also presented to the public in ongoing exhibitions like “American Masonic Presidents” and “What's in a Portrait?," both of which are currently on view.
Can’t visit? The museum has a number of online exhibitions of interest to the general public and Masonic audiences. Topics include “Rooted in Tradition: Aprons from the Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library” and “Designing Costumes for the Scottish Rite: 1913-1920.” In this YouTube video, Hilary Anderson Stelling, Director of Exhibitions and Collections, takes you through the highlights of “Keeping Time: Clockmakers and Collectors.”
The Scottish Rite Masonic Museum & Library boasts one of the country’s finest collections of material and artifacts related to the history of American Freemasonry and fraternalism. The collection also includes decorative arts, documents, artifacts, photographs, and fine art related to all aspects of American history.
A growing portion of the museum collection can be accessed online. This searchable database provides access to information about and images of many objects in the collection of the Museum and the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives.
The museum is also active on social media. The staff manages an active Facebook and Instagram page. On HistoryPin, photos from the collection are mapped by place and time.
The Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives
The Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives has one of the world’s most comprehensive collections on the subject of American Freemasonry. The collection comprises over 60,000 books, 1,600 serial titles, and 2,000 cubic feet of archival materials related to Freemasonry, fraternalism, and American history. The Library & Archives is open to the public and is located off the Museum’s main lobby.
The library staff has tackled the digitization of the library’s collection of thousands of photos. This effort allows the staff order to create a comprehensible, and easily accessible resource for the public. Items are now catalogued online, with visitors able to search by title, number, and keyword.
The Library & Archives has deep and rare resources in its Masonic collections and general American history holdings. It houses the archival records of the Supreme Council including founding documents of the organization, many of which pre-date its official founding in 1813.
There is much more to the Van Gorden-Williams Library & Archives. Visit the website for complete information.
The Library loves giving tours to history enthusiasts! Below, Director of Library & Archives Jeff Croteau (at left) shares some treasures from the collection with visitors—among them a 1723 copy of the Constitutions of the Freemasons printed in London, and a copy printed by Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) in Philadelphia in 1734.
Popular Event Venue
Many are surprised to learn that the Museum & Library is available for event rental. This elegant and unique setting is used for all types of social and corporate events for a few or a few hundred guests. Whether it is to hold seminars and lectures, to conduct executive business meetings or conferences, or to host a dinner and dancing evening, the museum is quite possibly the perfect venue.
Call 781-457-4106 to find out more or arrange an appointment or send email to: [email protected].
The Scottish Rite Museum and Library is waiting for you to explore. The museum is open to the public 10am – 4pm, Wednesday through Saturday. Admission is free. If you are interested in a one-of-a-kind educational experience and want access to some of the oldest Masonic historical records in the world, then make sure to choose Lexington, MA as your next weekend getaway.