Freemasonry has always been intertwined with the history of the United States. Many prominent members of the founding generation had been members. In the years following the American -Revolution, Masons and the rapidly growing republic- including the pioneers settling the frontiers of Kentucky- held many ideals in common: honorable civic-mindedness, a high regard for learning and progress. American values looked much like established Masonic values.
From its birth as an organized fraternal movement in the early- 18th-century London to today, Freemasonry has been the object of wide curiosity and occasionally intense suspicion. With its secret rituals, its involvement with both ancient wisdom and modern science and reason, and its relatively "exclusive" membership (applicants must ask to join and are then vetted and voted upon), mason seem almost tailor-made fro weavers of conspiracy theories and adventure novels to use as foils.
But the Masons' substantial accomplishment in forming solid citizens, in forging social networks, in support philanthropic causes- are remarkable. Across the commonwealth, across the nation and across the globe, today's masons follow the dictates of their fraternity in trying to "make good men better".
The Freemasons: In the Bluegrass and Beyond opened at the Lexington History Museum on August 27, 2011. Today you can see this exhibit's actual panels, as will as the exhibit pictures by clicking on the links below. Our thanks goes out to the Lexington Lodge #1, without their support this exhibit would not have been possible.