Since 2011, the Masonic Library & Museum of Indiana has contributed more than $30,000 in college tuition payments and wages to student interns pursuing degrees in Museum Studies at IUPUI. The COVID pandemic shutdowns and restrictions this year caused some unforeseen complexities for us. However, thanks to the IU Work/Study program, we have had the good fortune to be assisted by not one, but two talented students this fall.
Olivia Underwood is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in Museum Studies. She has been working on a variety of projects for us on the Museum side, including new label designs and signage, developing archiving solutions for some of our artifacts, updating our computer resources, and more.
Duncan Kissinger comes to us with an Associate Degree in Library Science, and he is currently attending IUPUI seeking a degree in Labor Studies. Over the years, several of our volunteers have made attempts to at least sort and organize our book collection. But thanks to Duncan’s expertise this year, we are at last undertaking a serious effort to digitally catalog our Library collection and make it publicly searchable.
Our antique card catalog hasn’t been updated since the late 1990s, and we have had hundreds of new books donated to us since that time. As this project progresses, the ability to search for our books online will be a boon to Indiana Masons, historians, researchers, genealogists and countless others.
Many thanks to both Olivia and Duncan! They are normally in the Museum Monday through Thursday, so if you are downtown during the week, stop in and say hello.
The Masonic Library & Museum of Indiana is again open to the public now that Indianapolis’ COVID restrictions have been eased. The Museum is located on the 5th floor of the Indianapolis Masonic Temple, and can be accessed by appointment Monday through Friday from 10AM to 4PM. If there is no volunteer staff member immediately available, please ask at the Security desk.
The Library & Museum will remain closed this week as we finish up painting on the 5th and 6th floors of Indiana Freemasons Hall and re-set some of our displays. We hope to reopen the week of June 15th.
In the meantime, please explore our website. Here you will find online access to our collection database, links to the Indiana Freemason magazine archives dating back to 1923, book resources, featured artifacts, news and more. We look forward to welcoming Masons and the public very soon.
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.
We currently anticipate being able to reopen the week of June 15th.
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
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.
For the back story behind the creation of this influential booklet, see the article on Chris Hodapp’s Freemasons For Dummies blog.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.