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An item from Freemasonry: A History Hidden in Plain Sight was chosen as this months artifact of the month as the exhibit comes to a close at the end of October, when it is replaced with a First Nations/Metis Arts & Craft Exhibit.
One of the most emblematic symbols of the Masons is their aprons. The apron pictured here is nearly 200 years old and is from the travelling portion of the Masonic exhibit from the Bruce County Museum and Cultural Centre. It dates back to the 1820’s, around 100 years after Freemasonry, as we know it today, started. The Grand Lodge of England, the first in the world, began in 1725.
The origins of this fraternal organization date back to the stonemasons of Medieval Times. Those early craftsmen were known as “operative masons” as they physically worked the stone as they built the great cathedrals and castles of Europe. The apron protected the Masons from rough stones and sharp tools. The modern Freemasons of today don’t usually work with stone and are referred to as “speculative masons”. However, they still wear an apron to demonstrate their pride and remember their history.
In Canada, a Mason can rise through three degrees with each one having its’ own apron. Entered Apprentice is the first degree, followed by Fellowcraft and then Master Mason. Master Masons can go on to a concordant body such as Shriners or the Scottish Rite. Those that choose the Scottish Rite must go through another 33 degrees!
On the afternoon of Sunday October 22nd our final Masonic Event will be held at the Museum. This is the publics last chance to view the exhibit with local Masons on site to answer questions. An announcement about their Centennial Celebrations next year is also planned.
The Freemasonry exhibit celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first Masonic ceremony being held in the Grande Prairie area, but the Grande Prairie and Lake Saskatoon (Wembley) Lodges didn’t form until 1918. Next year is slated to be an exciting one for the two lodges.
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