Saturday, December 22, 2007

Masonic stamp is visible throughout the city of Washington, DC

What do the international best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, the hit movie National Treasure, starring Nicholas Cage, and the upcoming Octagon exhibition The Initiated Eye have in common? All three reveal the little known contribution of Freemasonry to American culture and history. In an unprecedented collaboration with the Grand Lodge of Free And Accepted Masons of the District of Columbia in Washington, DC, and artist Peter Waddell, The Octagon, the Museum of The American Architectural Foundation is organizing an original exhibition focusing specifically on the interesting and significant contributions of Freemasons to the design and architecture of Washington, DC.
The tradition of Masonic architecture in the United States is grounded in a history far older than the establishment of this country. Many of this nation’s founding fathers were themselves Freemasons and the Masonic stamp is visible throughout the city of Washington, DC, the surrounding metropolitan area, and the entire country.
Featuring 20 original paintings by history painter Peter Waddell complemented by original Masonic artifacts, the exhibition will tell the story of the city’s design from a new perspective and shed light on the Masonic connections of many historic buildings in the nation’s capital. These paintings and objects will explain some of the secret symbols of Freemasonry and provide an understanding of how Masonic symbols were and are used as powerful symbols of this nation.
Original artifacts from the rich collections of the metropolitan area’s many lodges, many never seen before by the public, will accompany the paintings. George Washington’s leather coffin strap decorated with Masonic symbols will be paired with a painting of a 19th-century funeral cortege depicted outside one of DC’s oldest lodges. An exquisite Klismos-inspired chair designed by architect John Russell Pope for his architectural masterpiece, the House of the Temple on 16th street will be shown with a painting depicting the interior of this magnificent structure. The intention of the exhibition is to demystify the role that Freemasons have played in this nation’s architectural history and to provide a new perspective on various historic events.
The exhibition remains on view through December 31, 2005. Extensive educational programming is planned to accompany the exhibition, including walking tours of area Lodges and Temples, musical performances, lectures, and workshops.
Peter Waddell, well-known for his work as a history painter, has created several series of paintings that have served as the foundation of popular exhibitions at The Octagon, including most recently, Inside the Temple of Liberty: 19th-Century Interiors of the U.S. Capitol Building (2002). A group of masons is working closely with Mr. Waddell to identify topics for the paintings and assist in the research necessary to ensure the accuracy of the work.
Freemasonry is one of the world’s oldest and largest secular fraternal organizations, whose members are concerned with moral and spiritual values. Freemasonry dates to the Middle Ages as an organization for stone masons, very similar to other craft guilds. Implements of architectural craftsmen are used symbolically in the organization’s system of instruction. Many American architects and builders have been and are Freemasons and the ceremonies of Freemasonry are still used at the dedication of the cornerstones of important buildings.
The Octagon, the museum of the American Architectural Foundation (AAF), is a nationally recognized museum of architecture and design located two blocks from the White House. One of Washington, DC’s earliest residences, the building is a National Registered Landmark (1960) and is accredited by the American Association of Museum (1973). The Octagon’s mission is to educate the public about architecture, design, historic preservation, and stewardship of our architectural heritage. These goals are accomplished through on-site exhibitions, traveling exhibitions, collections and a wide variety of creative public programs. 7:39 AM Also The Secret Architecture of Our Nation's Capital : The Masons and the Building of Washington, D.C. by David Ovason

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