A Message from Michael D. McKee, Executive Director
Masonic Charities One Masonic Drive Elizabethtown, PA 17022
The beginning of Spring is upon us. We are slowly getting back to normal as more people are being vaccinated. We have opened our doors to our members and guests and are thrilled to once again see them experience the treasures of our Masonic Temple. We are excited that we are making progress on the exterior lighting project. The project includes installing cost-effective, lower maintenance, light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures and projection lighting. This will provide a nearly infinite array of possible patterns and colors to illuminate the Masonic Temple’s intricate facades along Broad and Filbert Streets. The engineering is complete, and planning and preparation has begun. As a native Philadelphian, I am excited, because this project gives us the opportunity to highlight the unique architecture of the Masonic Temple and complement our surrounding buildings.
Thanks to generous donations, we have the resources to preserve and/or restore our collections. In this issue, we are spotlighting two completed projects made possible because of donations from Freemasons and non-Freemasons alike. Our team is grateful that we have support to carry out our mission to preserve and share our priceless collection. If you have the opportunity, please visit us, take a virtual tour or browse our YouTube channel. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to be part of something bigger than ourselves.
polyester and felts under acrylic glazing and weight. Finally, all is sealed to protect the document from dust and environmental factors.
Old Treasures Newly Restored by Michael G. Comfort
The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania recently commissioned the Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia to repair and stabilize several historic documents, two of which have particular relevance to Pennsylvania Freemasonry. The first document is the Warrant & Constitution of the Provincial Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania, dated 1764. It is interesting to note that this was the third warrant issued from England to Pennsylvania. The first two, sent in 1761 and 1763, never arrived; the ships they were sent on had been captured by the French.
The document restoration process involved detailed chemical tests in all areas to determine the best ways to proceed. Well-meaning attempts at repairs going back over 100 years, or more, can eventually have a damaging rather than a preservative effect on such an old document. Tape and hinges have to be gently removed mechanically or with an appropriate solvent. Then, the parchment is humidified and flattened out on a suction table. Splits and tears are mended with mulberry paper and wheat starch paste. Next, the document is pressed between non-woven
The second featured artifact is an original daguerreotype photograph of Brother George Mifflin Dallas, the eleventh Vice President of the United States (1845-1849), Grand Master of Pennsylvania (1835) and first chancellor of the Smithsonian Institution (1847). A daguerreotype is the earliest form of photography, dating back to the 1840s. A sheet of silver-plated copper is treated with a light-sensitive iodine solution. After it is exposed, it is removed from the camera and exposed to mercury vapor, which brings out the image. This particular one, when found in the Library & Museum archives, was very cloudy, which made it difficult to see the image. After being properly cleaned, it was returned to its original frame. A daguerreotype, even when brand new, has a shiny surface, almost like a mirror. In order to see the image, it must be viewed on an angle. It is now on display in our Exhibit Hall.
Learn More or Donate
Visit MasonicCharitiesLegacy.org for further information on how you can include the Masonic Charities in your estate plan. Or, call us for our Estate Planning Guide, QCD Kit or Income for Life Guide. Thank you for supporting the Masonic Charities. To learn more about opportunities to support the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania, call 1-800-599-6454 or email email@example.com. Find us on Facebook at @masonictemplephiladelphia