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.
Pardon our dust…
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.
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.
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
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
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
Elevator service restored to Freemasons’ Hall
Both of the elevators in the Indianapolis Masonic Temple are now fully operational, and the Masonic Library & Museum of Indiana is once again accessible to anyone unable to use the steps. We apologize to anyone who was inconvenienced by the service interruption or prevented from visiting, and we hope you will visit us soon.
Year End Improvements at MLMI
Just 24 short days left in the Bicentennial year of Indiana Freemasonry!
As the year winds down and the holidays are upon us, the Library & Museum is making some final display arrangements for a new exhibit for next year’s Founders Day on January 12th. We will be debuting an incredible, one of a kind artifact from the Civil War period that is unlike any Masonic item you have ever encountered. Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement!
Meanwhile, we have just added some welcome new lighting to our display and reading areas, making it more conducive to actually reading the books and documents in the collection while visiting and working the Library.
The Library & Museum will have very limited availability between now and Founders Day due to school hiatus of our intern Cody Hudson and members of our Board being out of town. Please contact us for access.