In the News: Museum of Freemasonry Opens its Doors

Freemasons to share its history

Later this month, the Freemasons will open an exhibition to showcase their impressive collection of jewels, which includes items bequeathed to them by King Edward VII. 

The Freemasons, once so secretive, have tried to dispel myths surrounding their membership in recent months and this further permission to explore rarely seen pieces is as enticing as it is fascinating. For someone like me, who has been tempted previously by other collections of gems, it is a must-see autumn spectacular. It also allows women a rare glimpse at a stronghold of male patriarchy and I’m always up for a rebellious snoop anywhere!

Did you know that last month the Freemasons agreed to allow women to join, but only if they’ve previously been a member and have gone through gender reassignment? They also will allow men to join after gender reassignment. Women who were born female will not be allowed to join.

Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Masonic Badge
Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Masonic Badge (Photo: The Telegraph)

Bejewelled: Badges, Brotherhood and Identity, at the Library and Museum of Freemasonry, will draw on items from its royal former Grand Master and other past Freemasons such as the Duke of Connaught, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Rudyard Kipling. It’s the first major exhibition of Masonic jewels in the UK and, with around 150 jewels exhibited, it is believed to be one of the largest collections of male jewellery ever displayed.

The exhibition runs from  20 September 2018 –  24 August  2019


Britsh Museum Exhibits Dissent

The Citi exhibition: I object, Ian Hislop’s search for dissent

From the bronze head of Emporer Augustus (27BC) to a pink, knitted pussy hat worn at a women’s march in Washington DC to protest President Trump’s open contempt for females, the public will be able to see over 2,000 years of dissent at the British Museum this autumn. Showcased are items that signify public disapproval and will be on display from 6 September to 20 January 2019.

Enemies of Rome decapitated the statue and buried the head so that everyone entering their temple trampled over it. (Photo: Alecsandra Raluca Dragoi the Guardian)

Ian Hislop, editor of Private Eye, along with co-curator Tom Hockenhull, has spent three years delving into the Museum’s stores to find subtle or downright obvious artefacts that convey the public’s objections to tyranny, oppression or authority.

I’ve previously researched the eighteenth century caricatures of Gillray and Cruikshank that viciously mocked the reigning royal family and so this exhibition appeals to the side of me that enjoys witnessing dubious authority being challenged. It’s another one for my diary.



10 thoughts on “In the News: Museum of Freemasonry Opens its Doors

  1. A lot of profound history there, thanks for sharing. I do have a question though, what’s the problem with men’s clubs? Is there any specific reason why men cannot have their own club? If memory serves me right, I thought there was already a women’s freemasonry club already. There is already The Order of Women Freemasons, ; The Honorable Fraternity of Ancient Freemasons, , Women’s Freemasonry USA, , and many more from what I understand.

    I have written about this, please feel free to check it out. I look forward to your response.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t have a problem with men’s clubs. I used to swim in a ladies only class many years ago (the time suited me, not the single-sex status) so I can appreciate the distinction. BUT I quite enjoy the prospect of having a look at something from which I would normally be excluded!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. They are afraid of legal action against discriminatory behaviour.
      Sometimes with exhibitions the link to the theme can be quite tangential, It’ll be interesting to see what they have chosen for display.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. So now women are still so low to Freemasons that transgenders (male and female) are more acceptable. Sad. Perhaps some objectors to the first exhibit could wind up in the second!

    Liked by 1 person

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