During 1999, The Masonic Library and Museum of Pennsylvania has been busy with projects and activities to preserve the old and to present new programs.
Two of three capital projects during the year provided for much improved care for books, articles, and collections that recall our heritage and tradition. Both of the book stack areas adjacent to the north of the Museum were air conditioned to add untold years of preservation for valuable collections stored there. Additional shelving was installed in the subterranean Archives to allow for better placement of historic collections. The third capital project was remodeling the Museum Gift Shop for better presentation of the varied historical and fraternal merchandise.
The Gift Shop has become very busy with new items available, not just on-site, but also through the new catalogue sent to all members with The Pennsylvania Freemason and a Gift Shop page on the Library and Museum web site made available by the Grand Lodge Internet Committee.
In addition to the Museum's outstanding permanent displays, the staff mounted several exciting exhibits, among them, "Masonic Governors of Pennsylvania 1726-1971" and "18th Century Masonic Songbooks."
"Music at the Masonic Temple," the organ recitals introduced in 1999, has been incredibly successful. Since the installation of the new three-manual Rodgers 950 organ, there have been three well-attended, enthusiastically received recitals during the year. The first featured Gordon H. Turk, Resident Organist of the Ocean Grove Auditorium in New Jersey. The next was presented by Marc Cheban, Organist and Choirmaster at Saint Andrew's Chapel, Middletown, DE. The third was presented by Monte Maxwell, Chapel Organist and Assistant Director of Music at the U.S. Naval Academy. Continuing into 2000, it was necessary to require reservations for the April 9 recital due to the anticipated large demand for tickets to attend the presentation by internationally known organist, Diane Bish. Scheduled to perform on November 5 is Ken A. Cowan, a participant in the National Young Artists Competition in Organ Performance for 1999-2000.
Tours of the Masonic Temple continue to be extremely popular among not just the Family of Freemasonry, but also the public. With their continued growth in popularity, the museum estimates tours to reach or exceed 30,000 persons this year.