THE NATIONAL MASONIC MUSUEM AND HERITAGE TRUST COMMITTEE ...cntd
In 2015 I was asked to set up the National Masonic Museum and Heritage Trust Committee for the purpose of identifying and recording Masonic items throughout New Zealand in association with the Auckland Masonic Museum.
The committee’s initial focus was to identify and register Masonic items and where possible, give advice as to maintenance of items, but not responsible for the ownership. By working in conjunction with the Auckland Museum and 167 Heritage Society Incorporated), and eventually other Masonic Museums, items can placed in their care throughout New Zealand.
It is therefore a priority to identify and work with the various Museums, including Heritage New Zealand and establish a closer association and awareness of the Heritage of Freemasonry in New Zealand.
Initial investigations and research has identified that throughout the country, in every Lodge building, Museum and individual dwellings there is Masonic items that are not identified for their true value or Heritage.
Most Lodges have an Asset Register for insurance purposes, however the true value and the Lodge heritage of the items may not be fully appreciated. A question that could be asked “what is the value, history, the original cost, valuation today and what would it cost to replace today of such items as the Lodge’s Furniture, in particular the Officer’s Chairs, Pedestals and altar.
There are many Museums throughout the country where they have a display of Masonic artefacts with little relative information, such in case was when, early this year , after completing cycling the Otago Rail Trail, we visited the Middlemarch Museum which was the old Strath Taieri Lodge No 199 building. Inside, there was a display of items from the old Lodge including, the Master’s chair, and photos etc. which were poorly displayed. On another wall was a glass cabinet containing a number of Past Master’s jewels and other jewels. I approached one of the Curators who informed me that they have little information on the Lodge and would like to improve and develop the display by including the relevant information including the history.
The "jewel" display case on display at the Middlemarch Masonic Museum, including the Lodge's inaugural Installation Programme from 1914. Priceless 'treasure'.
Having taken photos of the various items, I passed the information on to V W Bro Alan Bevins, Curator of the Auckland Museum, who made contact and is now assisting the Middlemarch Museum with information.
The History of this Lodge is recorded in their Minute Book and attendance registers which is believed to be held by the Museum.
This is just one example of what the National Masonic Museum & Heritage committee is committed to locating recording and expanding the Heritage and History of Masonry in New Zealand.
We would invite any Lodge or individual to make contact with V W Bro Alan Bevins, providing an itemised list of any items and photos for identification. An Excel spread sheet is available for the recording of items if required in more detail if required.
The Committee is looking to expand, throughout the country, therefore we would welcome any interested people, Freemasons, wives and non-masonic people, to make contact.
V W Bro Alan Bevins; firstname.lastname@example.org
R W Bro Roger Carson; TheCarsons@xtra.co.nz
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