George Frank Sculpture Featured in April ’20 Indianapolis Monthly


As the COVID-19 pandemic nationwide shutdown rolls along, the April 2020 issue of Indianapolis Monthly magazine arrived today, featuring all of the city’s great restaurants we can’t go visit until the restrictions are lifted. Such are the odd vicissitudes of magazine deadlines closing sometimes months in advance of actual publication.

The back page of the magazine always features an unusual artifact from around the City every month. April’s artifact is none other than the Masonic Library and Museum of Indiana’s unique folk art sculpture by nineteenth century Indiana Mason George S. Frank. It is shown in a beautiful, full-page photo by Tony Valainis with a description of the piece, complete with a few words from our director Mike Brumback.

The magazine should be on news stands this week.

For more about Brother Frank’s remarkable and complex sculpture, see this much longer article HERE.

Like nearly every other facility in Indiana, we have been forced to close during the duration of the pandemic. Normally, we are open to the public. When this all passes, please do stop in and see us on the 5th floor of the Indianapolis Masonic Temple at 525 N. Illinois Street in Indianapolis.

Masonic Library & Museum COVID 19 Closure Notice

On March 13th, 2020, all Masonic activity in the state of Indiana was suspended due to coronavirus precautions. Per instructions issued by Grand Master Kenneth Roy, Jr. of Indiana, the Indianapolis Masonic Temple and the Masonic Library & Museum of Indiana will be closed to visitors and all but necessary staff beginning immediately. Only essential office staff, maintenance personnel, emergency contractors, and lodge Masters and officers will be permitted in Freemasons Hall and the Museum.

While these measures will be observed as long as necessary, the initial notice expires on April 31, 2020, unless otherwise rescinded or extended.

In the meantime, we at the Library & Museum encourage you to explore our online resources, such as our hundreds of back issues of the Indiana Freemason magazine, books and other documents, and our online visual catalog of the Museum’s physical collections. Links for all of these can be found at our website at www.mlmindiana.org

.GL COVID Virus Follow Up 3-15-20

‘Laudable Pursuit’ Audio Book Benefits Museum

The Masonic Library & Museum of Indiana would like to thank the creators of the Whence came You? podcast for generously donating the proceeds from the sale of the new audio book edition of Laudable Pursuit by the Knights of the North to us on an ongoing basis.

 

Originally released online in 2004 and in its final form in 2006, Laudable Pursuit has become a popular roadmap over the last decade and a half on how to attempt to change the course of Freemasonry. Countless lodges around the globe have adopted concepts from this booklet to reset their own practices and priorities.
 
• To purchase this audio book version, CLICK HERE.

For the back story behind the creation of this influential booklet, see the article on Chris Hodapp’s Freemasons For Dummies blog.

Masonic Library & Museum Open For Founders Day 1/11/2020

The Masonic Library and Museum of Indiana will be open for Masons and the public this Saturday, January 11th beginning at 7AM in conjunction with the annual Founders Day program. The Museum will remain open into the afternoon until at least 4PM, after the meeting of the Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research.

Please come and visit us on the 5th floor of the Indianapolis Masonic Temple!

If you are coming to Founders Day, the Speedway DeMolay in partnership with the Grand Lodge will be serving a wonderful breakfast for Masons and guests starting at 7AM until 10AM in the 2nd floor dining room. Price is just $8 for all you can eat! So grab some breakfast and visit the Museum before the festivities begin!

The Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research wintertime meeting will begin at approximately 3PM on the 5th floor of the Temple, after the conclusion of the Grand Lodge Education Committee breakout session. All Indiana Masons and those in amity with the Grand Lodge F&AM of Indiana are welcome to attend. WM Christopher Hodapp will give a presentation entitled “Your Son Is My Brother” on the use of the Evansville and Indianapolis Masonic Temples during World War II as military service centers, part of a national Masonic movement to assist military personnel. Barry White will present news about the new Montgomery County Masonic Museum taking shape in Columbus. And we’ll be discussing exciting new changes coming soon to the Indianapolis Temple, as well as an upcoming trip to visit the wealth of Masonic sites in Lafayette in the spring. Please join us!

The Indianapolis Masonic Temple is located at 525 N. Illinois Street, just south of the Scottish Rite cathedral parking lot.

For more information about the Masonic Library & Museum of Indiana, visit our website at www.mlmindiana.org

New Exhibit: Baseball Legend and Indiana Mason Carl Erskine

The Masonic Library & Museum of Indiana is proud to feature a new exhibit about an Indiana Mason who is truly a living legend in the world of baseball.  Brother Carl Erskine was a pitcher for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers between 1948 and 1959.  In the 1950s, there were only seven no-hitter games in the National League, and Brother Carl pitched two of them.  In the 1953 season he  won twenty games and made history during the World Series by striking out fourteen Yankee hitters in a single game, a record that would stand for ten years.  Before retiring from baseball in 1959, Carl’s career included 122 wins, a World Series title, and two no-hitters.

Carl was born in Anderson, Indiana in 1926, where he still lives today.  Growing up in Anderson, Carl wasn’t the only future professional sports figure in town.

His was a racially mixed neighborhood, and his childhood friend Johnny Wilson would later be known as Jumpin’ Johnny Wilson of the Harlem Globetrotters.

While playing for the Dodgers, Carl was a teammate with Jackie Robinson, the first baseball player to break the color barrier in 1947.  When Robinson asked Carl why he had no problem with the “white and black thing,” Carl simply answered, “Johnny Wilson.”  The two men remained close friends in Anderson until Wilson’s death last year.

Following his baseball career, Carl became an admired leader in his hometown community.  He coached baseball at Anderson College for 12 years, served as President of Star Bank, and was active in numerous community organizations.  Brother Carl joined Fellowship Lodge 681 in Anderson at the height of his most successful year of 1953.  To this day he believes that Masonic principles help men become builders by building values in their life, “because without discipline, you hardly have control of your life.”

In researching our exhibit, Director Mike Brumback, PGM, and our IUPUI Museum Studies intern Eldon Yeakel visited him at his home.  Eldon was especially enthusiastic about creating this exhibit, as he previously interned at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

A Rare Find

Brother Bruce Crouch was exploring the former site of John Bigger’s Trading Post in Ellettsville, Indiana (Monroe County) and discovered this unusual Masonic relic.

It is a bronze suspender buckle featuring a Masonic square and compass,  patented in 1872 by inventor J. O. West.

According to Brother Crouch, the land was deeded to John Bigger in 1814 by the government while still part of the Indiana Territory. It remained a trading post for many years, with evidence of activity left by Indians, settlers and the military. By the 1860s, it had become a farm, but the house that stood there was gone by the early 1900s. The property is now owned by the town of Ellettsville, but Bruce is still trying to find the name of the owner in the 1870s so we can determine his Masonic record.

Bruce has graciously donated the buckle to the Masonic Library & Museum of Indiana.

‘Morgan’s Raiders’ Jewels Returned!

The silver Masonic officers jewels stolen by Morgan’s Raiders from Versailles Lodge have been returned!

Well, that sounds a bit hyperbolic. They’ve actually been brought back to the Masonic Library and Museum of Indiana by the members of Versailles Lodge, who are once again loaning us their treasured artifact of the Civil War period for a brief time.

If you missed seeing them on display last year, be sure to stop by the Museum and take this opportunity now.

And if you don’t know the story of Morgan and his infamous raid across southern Indiana during the Civil War, or how and why these silver jewels were seized and returned, read about it here.

‘Indiana Freemason Magazine’ Collection Joins the Indiana Memory Project

The Masonic Library and Museum of Indiana,  in conjunction with the Indiana State Library, is now making available the complete collection of the Indiana Freemason Magazine from 1923 – 2003 for online access, as part of Indiana Memory Project.

The magazine was originally created as the official publication of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons in the State of Indiana in 1923 as a project of the in-house print shop within the Indiana Masonic Home in Franklin. That professional printing facility was established partially as a vocational training program for some of the eventual 860 orphans of Freemasons who lived at the Home until 1975.

This searchable online collection of more than 39,000 pages will be a treasure trove for historians, genealogists and other historical researchers, and includes historical articles, photographs, current events, lists of lodges, plus Masonic members and officers involved in countless activities, and even advertising of businesses of the 20th century across Indiana.

The Indiana Freemason had several editors over the decades, but was especially dominated after WWII by noted Masonic historian, author, Past Grand Master and Past Grand Secretary, Dwight L. Smith.

Also included in the collection are approximately 900 pages of a selected number of local Masonic lodge histories from across the state, which were assembled around 1968. These frequently contain historical lists of former members and officers, along with telling the stories of lodges with their communities.

The entire Grand Lodge of Indiana Collection can be accessed at the Indiana Memory Project website or by a link from the www.mlmindiana.org website.

MLMI Open During Grand Lodge 2019 Annual Communication

The Masonic Library & Museum of Indiana will be open during both days of the Grand Lodge F&AM of Indiana’s Annual Communication, Tuesday and Wednesday, May 21-22, 2019. Indiana Freemasons Hall will open at 7AM, and while breakfast will not be served either day this year, we will have coffee and donuts available. Visit us on the 5th Floor of the Temple at 525 North Illinois Street, just south of the Cathedral.
 
On Wednesday, we will remain open after the officers’ installation and official close of the Annual Communication, expected to be at noon (there is no lunch served on Wednesday, but the Double Eagle Cafe will be open).
 
The Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research UD will hold their May meeting on the 5th floor approximately one hour after the communication ends Wednesday, opening lodge at 1PM. Author Christopher Hodapp (Heritage Endures) will be presenting a paper, ‘In Search of the Lost Grand Master – Alexander Buckner,’ bringing to light much that has not been known about Indiana’s first Grand Master, who fled the state for Missouri just seven months into his term in 1818. In recent months, WB Hodapp has discovered what may be the only known surviving artifact that was associated with Buckner and Masonry – from his new lodge in Birdstown, Missouri, granted an Indiana dispensation in 1819 before statehood there was declared. Hodapp will trace Buckner’s trail, the duel that may have driven him from the Hoosier state, the lodge that was important to two different states, and the mystery of his roaming remains after his death in 1833.
The Library & Museum will remain open after the DLS meeting for Masons and visitors. Come see our new exhibits and changes!

Masonic Museum Collection Now Online

We are excited to announce a new online feature that will make the Museum more useful and accessible than ever!

While we regularly change our exhibits at the Masonic Library & Museum of Indiana, it reflects only a tiny portion of our vast collection. In the years that we have been located in our present home in Indiana Freemasons Hall (and with the dedicated assistance of our IUPUI Museum Studies interns), we have been carefully cataloguing all of our various artifacts. We use a specialized program, PastPerfect Museum Software, to document and track all of our objects, whether you actually see them on display or not.

Now, through our association with Past Perfect Software, we are making it possible to view the collection online. Clicking on our ONLINE COLLECTION link will open a separate PastPerfectOnline portal that will let you access and search the photographic and written records.

Take the opportunity to browse our collection and see what surprises we have in our vaults!