Masonic Charities One Masonic Drive Elizabethtown, PA 17022
A Message from Michael D. McKee, Executive Director
The Masonic Temple opened for free tours as part of Wawa Welcome America Free Museum Days on the two Fridays preceeding Independence Day, and the public responded in great numbers. We were able to highlight the Michael D. McKee, architectural Executive Director styles in each room and show examples of what our collection can offer to the world. During these two days, we had over 500 visitors. The hallways were filled with guests who were overcome by the beauty of the Masonic Temple. This outward representation of our inner values as Pennsylvania Freemasons and the Masonic family was well received.
We are in the final phase of the exterior lighting project. We are just waiting for the remainder of the equipment to be delivered. This has been a long and challenging project due to the impact of COVID-19 and the global supply chain slowdown. This was my first major project in my role as executive director, and you made it possible. The team at the Masonic Temple is overwhelmed by your support. Also thanks to you, we are currently engaged in projects to evaluate and preserve the portraits of our Past Grand Masters and the statues carved by Joseph A. Bailey (Strength, Faith, Hope, Wisdom and Beauty) and William Rush (Hope, Faith, Charity and Virtue). The stained glass window door which has been damaged for some time will be evaluated for repairs, as well. We are also planning to translate our tour dialogue into multiple languages to by enjoyed by our international guests.
A Rare Souvenir by Lee Martin, Associate, Masonic Library and Museum of PA While the Museum was closed to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic, staff members had time to catch up on “accessioning,” the fancy term for adding items to the collection catalog. One of the boxes in the building contained mostly Masonic coins collected by former librarian and curator Frank W. Bobb. Included among the 200+ coins was an especially rare souvenir from an important European Masonic event in the 18th century. To help confirm our suspicions, we reached out to noted historian and Mason Josef Wäges, an expert in continental Freemasonry, about the coin, and he agreed we have something rather important. Only 15 copies of this coin were produced, and only five are known to have survived. The bronze medallion commemorates the 1782 convention at Wilhelmsbad, Germany, perhaps the most important Masonic meeting in 19th century Europe. Organized by Ferdinand, Duke of Brunswick, the event opened on July 16, 1782, and lasted more than a
Welcome New Staff Member On May 31, we welcomed Stephanie Desjardins as the new Masonic Library and Museum associate. Stephanie will share responsibilities for research, cataloging the library, giving tours, helping as a cashier and at the front desk and assisting in the archives.
With her combined love of history and English (which she majored in at the University of New Hampshire), Stephanie is “so excited and honored to be working in this remarkable building,” as she pursues a master’s degree in Library Science. Her father is a member of Richmond-Solomon Lodge No. 3.
“I’m going to be helping wherever it’s needed,” she said. “It’s a great opportunity.”
month. Influential European Freemasons, including JeanBaptiste Willermoz and Adolph Freiherr Knigge, discussed the historic origins of Freemasonry. The majority concluded there was no actual historical link between Freemasonry and the original order of Knights Templar. The event saw the decline of the Rite of Strict Observance and the embellishment of the Rectified Scottish Rite. Most of the coins in Brother Frank’s collection are 19th century American, also created for events, like Templar triennial conclaves that were held all over the country. Some of them, however, were from overseas, like the Wilhelmsbad coin. Thanks to your support, as our research continues, we foresee a new exhibit in the building that will feature these important additions to our collection.
Prior to coming here, Stephanie had left a 10-year career in data management, focusing on clinical cancer trials at the University of Pennsylvania.
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Support the Masonic Library and Museum with a monthly gift. Call 1-800-599-6454, email Giving@MasonicCharitiesPa.org or visit PaMasonicTemple.org/donate-now to join the Cornerstone Circle Program.