Thanks to the Washingtonian, I found out that the Scottish Rite Temple in DC on 16th street has an open house today as part of the Warm up to a museum series. Knowing very little about the Free Masons other than the popular conspiracy theories out there, I thought this would be a great time to go check it out. I remembered that there was a temple in Baltimore too but it always looked so imposing (aka scary) I never even dared take a picture of it at that time. On hindsight, I wish I had. While I would very much like to say that I know what a Free Mason is…I really can’t. My impression is that they are a grown-up version of a fraternity (minus the excessive partying in many college fraternities)–a gathering of men (apparently women aren’t allowed!), and apparently very powerful men. Presidents, generals, and sportsmen, and many many others are Free Masons. According to their website, you can join the fraternal order only when asked by another Free Mason.
(this one is just a model)
I almost took out a dollar bill to examine and compare the different symbols on it…After all, many of the founding fathers were free masons. The most famous of course was George Washington.
This, apparently was the apron-thingy he wore when he laid the first stone for the foundation of Congress.
Abe Lincoln was another famous one.
But what was really truly impressive was their library. The collection of books, to be fair, is a lot smaller than most research libraries today. But the age of those books (think 1st edition!), the historical records in the library probably contain more information about the birth and growth of the US than any library in the world
If all the museums in the Warm up to a Museum series are as cool, I have a feeling the next couple of weeks will be very busy indeed!