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Library and MuseumThe Grand Lodge Library and Museum has been one of the true examples of a "working tool" in Freemasonry for many decades.

The late Bro. John Wanamaker, Chairman of the Library in 1908, had a vision for this Masonic Institution and helped see to its formal establishment in the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia. Eighty-two years later, in April of 1990, its Board also had a vision, and that was of having the Library and Museum become a "not-for-profit institution" and thus it became The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania.

For some years, there has been a circulating library for use of Pennsylvania Blue Lodge members. A catalogue is available to all members and is provided to newly raised brothers in a "Candidate Packet." That publication had been revised several times with additions of new items such as audio and videotapes. Now, thanks to the modern technology, the catalogue is also on the "net."

One of the interesting programs of the Library and Museum was the establishment of six satellite libraries across the Commonwealth. By that means, the Library has been able to help Freemasons in their home areas help their brethren to enlighten others in their quest for knowledge about who Masons are, what they believe and what they do.

While the Library and Museum was established originally for Masons, for many years the facilities have been open to the public on five weekdays all year and in the mornings on Saturdays from September through June. Again, thanks to the internet, the Library now receives requests for information from all over the world. It is not unusual to hear from someone in New Zealand, Japan, Great Britain, as well as throughout the United States and Canada.

Tours of the Temple are quite popular and educational. Several thousand people take enlightening tours of the magnificent Masonic Temple in Philadelphia each year and leave awed at its beauty and information about Freemasonry. One of the widely used features on the "net" is the virtual tour of the Temple. Thousands more have "visited" the Temple in that manner.

Library and Museum

In 1998, a new three-manual Rodgers organ was installed in Corinthian Hall. With that, the "Music at the Masonic Temple Recital Series" began. The series, open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania and the Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania. More than 600 persons attended the dedicatory recital by Dr. John Weaver in November, 1998. There were three recitals in 1999 by artists Gordon H. Turk, Mark Chaben, Monte Maxwell, and Donald H. McFarland. The following excerpt from a letter sent to The Philadelphia Inquirer after one of the recitals clearly defines the success:

"... The setting is Corinthian Hall in the Masonic Temple across from City Hall. The room is a masterpiece of detail (as are the other halls in this most amazing building.) The instrument is a Rodgers electronic organ, which only a purist can distinguish from a real pipe organ. The performer is Mark Chaben of Delaware. The program is varied ­ Bach, Bizet, Joplin, Gershwin ­ one that appeals to many tastes."

One way in which both Masons and the public can help to support The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania is by becoming a member of Friends of the Library and Museum. Individuals may join in several categories and lodges and Masonically related organizations may nominate persons to the Presidents Circle. (Full details are available in the brochure entitled Welcome to the Masonic Library and Museum or call 215-988-1934.)

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