Please note that the Museum is closed at particular times of year. For details of dates please click here.
The Museum houses the oldest Masonic Records in the world (those of Lodge Aitcheson’s Haven dating from January 1599), the famous ‘Burns Inauguration’ painting, numerous Masonic Artifacts – including Jewels, Ceramics, Clocks and Watches, and the records of the membership of many Famous Scottish Freemasons both at home and overseas.
The Museum of the Grand Lodge of Scotland contains some unique Scottish artifacts. The collection might best be described as ‘eclectic’ but the connecting theme, with few exceptions, is Freemasonry. A Masonic Bowie Knife from Texas (Bowie was a Freemason) to a Masonic Zippo lighter (!) are a few modern items to have been ‘made’ Masonic. More traditional items as mentioned previously include glasses, clocks and oil paintings. In addition there are numerous items kindly donated by Freemasons or their relatives and it is by this means that the collection primarily continues to grow.
On this page we shall display some choice items reflecting the ‘eclectic nature of the collection but also in an attempt to demonstrate the range of items held in the Museum, and a lesser extent, the Library, and in so doing show how Scottish Freemasonry different is different from that practised in other parts of the world. These differences manifest themselves in many ways but here we can only give examples as reflected in physical objects although there are also significant divergences not easily presented visually such as ritual, charity and esoteric interpretations. Scottish Masonic symbolism is one obvious difference from the rest of the Masonic world and we shall begin therefore by presenting some Scottish Masonic jewels.
In contrast to A Scottish Past Master’s Jewel this is a Past Master’s Jewel of an English Lodge (image on the right-hand side) albeit one founded for ex-patriate Scots in London. Note different symbolism used.
There are many different kinds of Masonic jewels, many people would describe them as medals, but Freemasonry has it’s own vocabulary, ritual, symbolism – in fact it has an entire ‘language’ of it’s own jewels are one small part of that language. A Past Master’s jewel is that which is awarded to someone who has served as Master of a Lodge. The period is typically a year but there are many Lodges in Scotland where two year’s service is expected. Past Master’s jewels are often the most ornate because they indicate the recognition that Lodge members have for the individual who lead the Lodge for a certain period of time. It can be seen therefore that this kind of jewel can only be worn by a certain kind of Freemason – those who have been Masters of a Lodge. Although the symbolism remains standard (although there are occasional exceptions) Scottish Craft jewels (including Past Master’s jewels as above) invariably reflect the colour(s) of the Lodge’s regalia – something that we shall discuss in more detail when we come to consider Lodge aprons etc.
Other jewels have different purposes and therefore different symbolism. Examples of these are those worn by Founder Members of a Lodge and can only be worn by such members. Some Lodges have member’s jewels which usually compliment the Lodge regalia. Another type of jewel is awarded by some Lodges to Freemasons who, although not members of that particular Lodge, have assisted in such a manner that the Lodge will present them with an Honorary Member’s jewel. Lastly, there are Anniversary jewels which members can purchase and wear if they took part in significant a Anniversary of a Lodge. Significant Anniversaries are considered to be: 50, 100, 150 and so on. There is one other type of jewel and these do not relate to Lodges but rather to Grand Lodge, Provincial Grand and District Lodges and Lodges last but not least ones which do not ‘fit’ any other category. We shall, below, give some examples and explanation of such jewels.