As you enter the room, you notice large wooden doors covered in leather. They weigh about 300 pounds each. The weight for these massive doors is hung on a single center hinge. They are pined at the top and bottom, but all the weight is supported in the center & you can move them with a single finger. The Temple Room is the main ceremonial space for the building. It is mainly used once every two years when the members of the Supreme Council come to Washington for an event called Biennial Session. Today, this room is used for smaller private ceremonies during the Biennial Session and a few times a year for special events (speakers, presentations, concerts and one local Lodge meets here).
The members of the Council would sit in the chairs and desks in order of seniority while the benches were reserved for 33rd degree Masons and special guests.
There is an Altar in the center of all Masonic lodge rooms to remind the members that God should be central to their lives, and this one is made of marble. The Hebrew writing on the front translates to “God said let there be light and there was light.”
Resting on the altar are the holy books from the world’s major religions. A main requirement for membership in the fraternity is that its members have a belief in a higher power but they do not dictate which one. Because we have the space, the major faiths of the world are represented here. In small lodge rooms, the faith of the majority of the members will be represented.
The skylight is about 100 feet above the Altar flooding this room with light and the dome weighs about 332 tons. The floor is made of hundreds of individually hand laid tiles. Even though they were placed by hand, the pattern lines up perfectly.
Looking at the windows, there are serpents in the bottom panels representing chaos. There are 33 panes of glass rising upwards and the coloration of the glass becomes lighted as you go upwards. As you rise through the degrees of the Scottish Rite, you obtain more knowledge, which is equated to light, so the higher you go up the window the more the light will come through.
There are functioning doors in the center of the windows. These open from the outside and help to get air into the room during the hot DC summer months.
There is an organ in the room and the pipes are concealed behind the screened half circle in the dome above the door. The organ has 1700 pipes and is one of the largest in the city.