The Nebraska Masonic Foundation will cut the ribbon this weekend on a new museum documenting the Freemasons’ 158-year history in the state.
The grand opening of the foundation’s Masonic Museum and Research Library will be held from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Masonic Grand Lodge of Nebraska, 301 N. Cotner Boulevard in Lincoln. The ribbon cutting is scheduled for 10 a.m.
The museum will be open to the public and will house books and historical artifacts donated by Masons over the years, according to a press release.
Highlights include about 2,000 books on philosophy, history and spirituality, as well as artifacts, such as a 3,000-year-old Egyptian setting maul (a type of hammer). Ancient weaponry, such as the halberd, a combined spear and battle ax, will also be on display.
A special exhibit will focus on the history of Prince Hall Masonry, a predominantly African-American branch of Freemasonry. Representatives from Nebraska’s Prince Hall lodges will attend the opening.
In another exhibit, patrons can learn about the Trans-Mississippi and International Exposition, a world’s fair held in Omaha in 1898.
The $500,000 Grand Lodge building had a cornerstone-laying ceremony in June 2013. The museum, previously in a smaller location on 10th Street in Lincoln, has been moved into the new building.
The new facility provides a better display space as well as humidity and temperature controls, said Russ Reno, former grand master of the lodge.
Organizers are hoping to increase the museum’s inventory by generating support from Masonic lodges throughout the state.