Kent Museum of Freemasonry

After an extensive eighteen month redevelopment programme, the Kent Museum of Freemasonry was reopened to the public on 14th September 2012.

The Museum

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Some of the museum artefacts

Whether you are a curious browser looking for something interesting and unusual to do in Canterbury, a serious student of Freemasonry or simply interested in the history of the City itself or the County of Kent you will find plenty to interest you.

Amongst the displays of masonic ephemera you will also find a fine collection of anthropological paintings, glassware and porcelain, along with historical documents and other presentation items.

Incorporated into the fabric of the building you will discover the unique 19th Century stained glass windows which originally adorned the old Freemasons’ Hall in London and also the solid oak entrance doors from St Mary’s College, part of the Jesuit Monastery which once stood in Hales Place in Canterbury.

Visit us and you will find a comprehensive history of Freemasonry, from its inception through to the present time, with special emphasis on Kent, its lodges and their origins.

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One of the mueseum’s display panels

As well as themed displays such as Notable Kent Freemasons and Masonic Military Heroes, other topical exhibitions are hosted throughout the year.

Everyone is welcome, not just Freemasons, we even have an interactive children’s section where, amongst other activities, they can design their own banners and aprons.

Alongside the Arts Council Accredited Museum sits an extensive reference Library which contains a comprehensive collection of printed books and manuscripts on Freemasonry and other fraternal organisations in Kent, Great Britain and beyond and covers all Masonic orders through the ages.

It also has one of the largest collections of genealogy books in the south east.

Click here to read more about the 2011-12 redevelopment programme.

Click here to read more about the history of the Kent Library & Museum Trust.

The Library

Library

Curator and Librarian Tony Periton

The Library complements the Museum in supporting its aim to inform and educate not only masons but also the general public by giving them access to masonic material for further study.

It contains in excess of 3000 volumes comprising general masonic reading, books on individual masonic orders, reference and research books of many Masonic Study Groups, histories of Lodges, Chapters and Provinces. For those who wish to investigate their Kentish masonic family history there are Provincial Year books dating from 1879.

Books for all levels of interest, from the casual reader to the serious student, can be found here. There is also a shelf containing books particularly selected to help the newer mason through his early years.

The latest editions of popular masonic magazines are also on display.

An adjacent reading room with free access to wi-fi has been provided to facilitate further study. At present the lending facility has been suspended while the cataloguing of the books and their insertion onto the new database is completed, but books may be still borrowed to read within the reading room.

A Special Collection of books and manuscripts has been created which are available only upon request.

For those who want to investigate their non-masonic family history the Library houses one of the largest collections of genealogy books and documents for family history in the south-east of England.

Shown below is an illustration of one of the books in the Special Collection

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Facsimile of the Additional MS 23,198 in the British Museum, commonly known as the Matthew Cooke MS. Described as “The history and articles of the ‘Sciens of Gemetry’ or Freemasonry…. Vellum in the original oak boards. Belonged to John Fenn 1786”.

It is believed to be the second earliest Masonic document and written in Medieval English.

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