COLUMBIA — The first Masonic museum in the state of Missouri will open in Columbia in February.
The Missouri Masonic Library and Museum, funded by the Masonic Home of Missouri that is housed in Columbia, will open officially to the public on Feb. 25.
Columbia was chosen as the museum site because it is located in the middle of the state.
“I think Columbia is an excellent location for it. It is the center of Masonic activity in the state,” said Harvey Soule, a museum committee member in St. Louis. “Masonry has a long and rich history in the state of Missouri.”
The museum will be housed in north Columbia, in the same building that is home to the statewide Masonic Home of Missouri and Grand Lodge of Missouri organizations. When the building opened in 2004, room was left specifically for exhibits, said Cindee Herrick, the special project curator for the Masonic Home.
The museum will be devoted to Missouri Freemasonry and its history as a fraternity, as well as to the Masonic Home of Missouri and its function as a charity organization.
Exhibits include five themed galleries that focus on different individuals throughout history who have contributed to the Masonic Fraternity and its charity.
The library portion of the museum has not been thoroughly developed yet.
A few recognizable Masons of the area who will be honored are historical figures Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Omar Bradley, Harry S. Truman and Laura Ingalls Wilder, who was involved the Order of the Eastern Star. She will be the subject of a gallery that shows how education and music are important in Masonry.