The House of the Temple is home to several unique museums, exhibits and collections. The Americanism Museum is dedicated to the Masonic principles of personal, social and intellectual freedom so important to our nation. It contains a number of captivating artifacts and relics from throughout American history. Visitors can see a foundation stone from the original construction of the White House, which bears Masonic markings. The collection also includes a life mask of President Abraham Lincoln.
The Albert Pike Museum is dedicated to the Grand Commander of the Supreme Council from 1859 until 1891. Pike is a highly regarded Masonic scholar, philosopher and historian. With his knowledge of languages, he conducted valuable research and rewrote the Rituals of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite.
The Masonic Philanthropies Exhibit showcases the philanthropic programs that the Scottish Rite provides. The RiteCare® Childhood Language Program offers facilities for the diagnostic evaluation and treatment of children with speech and language disorders, as well as learning disabilities. The exhibit includes testimonials and an inspirational video about the program. Another exhibit features our Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to worthy students who meet the academic and community service requirements.
Tours available Monday through Thursday, see Hours of Operation for details.
Our Museum Exhibits
The Masonic Philanthropies Museum
The exhibit shows many of the different philanthropic activities involved with the Masonic Organization. You will see how masons have helped others since their existence. In this room you learn about the Scottish Rite Speech and Language Centers, Hospitals, Scholarship programs, and much more.
The Albert Pike Museum
This room is a memorial to Albert Pike, who was Grand Commander of this Supreme Council from 1859 until his death in 1891, at the age of 82. During these 32 years, he wrote and compiled many books and became familiar with numerous languages, among them Latin, Greek, and Sanskrit. He is recognized as a great Masonic scholar, philosopher, and historian. He used his vast talents to research and rewrite the Rituals of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite. His renown as a jurist, orator, philosopher, scholar, soldier, and poet extends throughout the world.
The Albert Pike Collection features Pike’s personal Library. The Collection contains, in addition to his personal memorabilia, a model of the monument erected in his memory, the original of which is located at Third Street and Indiana Avenue, Northwest, in Washington, D.C., near the U.S. Department of Labor building. This is the only statue in the District of Columbia honoring a Confederate General. Also included in the Pike Room’s displays are first editions and holograph copies of many of Pike’s works; his original desk, lamp, clock, and chair; many Personal items including Masonic regalia, a representative sampling of his large collection of pipes, and a plaster-cast mask similar to a life mask of Abraham Lincoln on display in the Americanism Museum of the House of the Temple.
The Americanism Museum contains a rich and varied exhibit of artifacts that illustrate our Fraternity’s dedication to personal, social, and intellectual freedom. Here are displayed relics of the colonial and other periods of American history. For instance, there is a foundation stone from the White House which dates back to the original construction. Discovered during renovation started in 1948, the stone bears Masonic markings and is authenticated by a letter from former President Harry S. Truman, 33°. The collection also includes a life mask of President Abraham Lincoln and a lodge lantern used by a Union Army Lodge during the American Civil War.
Hall of Scottish Rite Regalia
The Hall of Scottish Rite Regalia is one of the several special areas developed in the House of the Temple during the 1992-1993 biennium. Located on the first floor between the office of the Director of Membership and the office of the Director of Development, the Hall is an educational and inspirational highlight for many visitors touring the House of the Temple. It consists of 36 original oil paintings by Bro. Robert H. White, 32°.
Brother White has won plaudits throughout his career as an artist from many notable art critics. Martin Amt, Curator of the Freer Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, for instance, said: “He is one of the relatively few painters in this country who continues to maintain the traditions of the past and has my whole-hearted endorsement of his talent as a painter.”
Among members of the Scottish Rite, Brother White is well known for his 1989 painting “Time for Lodge.” This was the first of the series of original oil paintings commissioned by the Supreme Council, 33°. Its success, both as a painting and as an art print, encouraged the Supreme Council to commission “The Lodge Room Over Simpkins’ Store” by Robert Soulé for the 1991 Biennial Session and “George Washington Laying the Cornerstone of the U. S. Capitol, Sept. 18, 1793″ and 1999′s “George Washington’s Inauguration as the 1st President of the United States,” by Brother John D. Melius, 33°, for the 1993 Biennial Session. In fact, Brother White completed another major oil painting, “Tools of the Craft,” released by the Supreme Council as part of the celebration of the 1997 Biennial Session.
The concept behind the Hall of Scottish Rite Regalia was for Bro. White to create an artistic and ultra-realistic still life of the various elements (apron, cap, cordon, baldric, jewel, ring, gloves, etc.) of each of the Scottish Rite Degrees (4th through 33rd), including the honors of the Knight Commander Court of Honour and the Grand Cross. Also, for historical purposes only, paintings of the aprons for the first three Scottish Rite Degrees, as envisioned by Albert Pike, were also created. Brethren, unfortunately, seldom see some of the regalia associated with the non-obligatory Degrees. By having this regalia accurately and beautifully presented in the Hall of Scottish Rite Regalia, there is now a permanent, impressive record of these Masonic elements available via the paintings themselves to visitors to the House of the Temple and via color photographic reproductions on a special order basis to Brethren everywhere.
Custom cove lighting, modeled after that in the Temple Architects Hall of Honor, was installed in the Hall of Scottish Rite Regalia so that each painting is individually and dramatically illuminated. In addition, a bronze plaque placed under each painting in the Hall indicates the number of the Degree, its title, and a brief statement of its duties. Finally, a self-portrait by Brother White has been placed in the Hall as a recognition of his dedication to the Rite and to this special project.
The Hall of Scottish Rite Regalia accomplishes at least four goals. It is a significant addition to the House of the Temple as a museum, a magnificent tribute to the material culture of our Order, an educational medium whereby Brethren can gain instruction on the symbolic and historical roots of the Scottish Rite, and an inspiration for us all to live by the duties of each Degree.
Cornerstone Hall of Freedom
The Cornerstone Hall of Freedom was added to the House of the Temple to commemorate the bicentennial Masonic reenactment in 1993 of the laying of the cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol. The stone used during the ceremony, a perfect 18-inch cube, serves as the exhibit’s centerpiece. The display also includes other memorabilia from the event including a photographic collage, a replica of the engraved silver plate affixed by George Washington under the original stone, a copy of an 18th-century Masonic apron, and a print of the painting, “George Washington Laying the Cornerstone of the U.S. Capitol, Sept. 18, 1793,” by Ill. John D. Melius, 33°.
Temple Architects Hall of Honor
The dedication of the Supreme Temple Architects Hall of Honor was one of the highlights of the 1991 Biennial Session. An original oil portrait of President Harry S. Truman, 33°, donated by the Scottish Rite Foundation of Missouri in 1990, was the premier painting installed in the Hall. Among them are such outstanding American Scottish Rite Freemasons as General James (Jimmy) Doolittle, 33°, G.C.; Gene Autry, 33°, G.C.; Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, 33°, G.C.; Will Rogers, 32°; Senator Sam J. Ervin, 33°; and Bishop Carl J. Sanders, 33°, G.C.
In order to assure an aesthetic harmony to this very special area in the House of the Temple, all Hall of Honor paintings are commissioned by the Supreme Council from Jean Pilk, a well-known portrait artist who has created official portraits for such notables as Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Ret.), Former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder, and General Colin Powell,(US Army Ret.). In addition, special lighting and a custom-woven carpet complete the Hall’s distinctive character. In upcoming years, this illustrious pantheon of Masonic heroes, both past and present, will be completed with pride by the Scottish Rite, for in donating a portrait to the Temple Architects Hall of Honor, the Brethren not only honor our nation’s most outstanding Scottish Rite Masons, but also give support to the House of the Temple, thus preserving it for generations to come.
Soverign Grand Commander’s Collection
The Grand Commander’s Collection features selections of fine porcelains from around the world, including Royal Copenhagen, Royal Crown Derby, Boehm, Meissen china, and American cut glass. Housed in fine cabinets with Chinoiserie decoration, this unique collection reflects the international scope of the Scottish Rite.
Past Sovereign Grand Commanders’ Collection
This room contains a variety of interesting contributions from Past Sovereign Grand Commanders. Among them are a mounted collection of railway watches, portraits and busts of Past Sovereign Grand Commanders, the Maurice H. Thatcher collection of memorabilia and books relevant to the Panama Canal, and the Kenneth S. Kleinknecht, 33°, Exhibit honoring his significant contributions to America’s space program.
Burl Ives Collection
For many decades, Ill. Burl Icle Ives, 33°, Grand Cross, an award-winning singer and actor, touched the hearts of young and old. Beginning his performance career at the age of four, Ill. Ives spent his entire life bringing joy to those around him through both his artistic talent and his kindness. Although most of the world knew him as an entertainer, his membership in Masonry meant a great deal to him, and he constantly devoted himself to numerous charities.
With the help of many generous donations from his wife, Dorothy Ives, and daughter, Barbara Vaughan, the Supreme Council has created a glowing tribute to Brother Burl’s life and work. The room housing the Burl Ives Collection was dedicated during the 1997 Biennial Session. The displays are designed to walk the visitor through the different stages of Brother Burl’s life, beginning with his childhood, passing through his performance career, and ending with his Masonic accomplishments. Included in the impressive display are a collection of record album covers, family photographs, and personal effects as well as different honors and awards Ill. Ives received both as an entertainer and as a Mason. The collection displays, for instance, the Grand Cross jewel he received in October 1993. This is the highest individual honor the Supreme Council bestows. Of his Masonic awards, it was an honor his wife says meant the most to him. A series of audio clips and color slides of this outstanding Scottish Rite Mason’s unforgettable music and career accompany visitors throughout their viewing of the Burl Ives Collection.
(Americanism Museum photo at top and Burl Ives photo at the bottom: ©Maxwell MacKenzie, Washington, D.C.)
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