By John Wilder, Historian
At the January Ceremonial, we were pleased to unveil to the Nobles and guests, the new Aleppo Archives Museum Room. It was only about a year and a half previous that your Historian started working on compiling Aleppo’s
historical records and memorabilia into an archives. The Archives first displayed a selection of memorabilia at the Fall 2017 Ceremonial and has set up a display at each since, as well as at the widely attended MasonicCon in Attleboro.
This past Spring, there was discussion of renovating some of the rooms at the Shrine, and an offer was made to split the large mezzanine storage room and let the Archives use half as a museum room. This would be ideal as it would allow us to move the collection out of the old liquor storage room off the lobby which was partially open to the garages. The work was completed over the summer, and moving into the new room commenced in the Fall.
Work was slow, as your Historian was also taking this as an opportunity to reorganize the collection which had grown more quickly than anyone had expected; most was in the storage room, but some had spilled over into the Minutemen’s unit room (of which your Historian was conveniently Captain). Plans were designed to furnish the room to allow for organized storage space, but more importantly, for plenty of display space.
Many hours were spent during evenings before meetings, early mornings before parades, on weekends, and on the occasional day off of work. The room was painted, filing cabinets and shelves moved in, permanent display shelving installed, display cases moved in and repaired, shelves filled with books and fezzes, displays made and then rearranged, and every empty wall space filled with photos hung using a wire rail system so they could be swapped out with ease.
The new museum room includes memorabilia from Aleppo as a whole and the various units and clubs, Aleppo’s homes and events, Imperial Sessions, fezzes from various units, officers, and candidate fezzes throughout the years, as well as a collection of uniforms, Shrine and Masonic literature, and a large collection of photos and paperwork covering every era of Aleppo’s history. We plan to have the room open and available to Nobles and friends at every Ceremonial and major Shrine event.
We are very fortunate to have had great support from so many Nobles and friends since we first started our work. It would be impossible to list the endless individual donors and units who have contributed items to the collection, but we would like to specifically thank those who provided furnishings for the museum room: Keith MacKinnon of the Cambridge Masonic Temple Collection, Col. Richard Bartlett and Lt. Col. David Fink, Richard Perry, Cliff Critch, Doug Dodge, and John Ralston. A special thanks to our office and building staff who put up with the Historian’s rummaging and provided much assistance and advice.
The greatest thanks must go to Illustrious Harlan Woods. It was, then, Chief Rabban Woods who first listened to my offer to digitize some old photos. Upon his installation as Potentate one year ago, he officially appointed me Historian of Aleppo Temple. He secured me storage space, and then it was his idea to have a museum room, even adding the detail of having a window and glass door so that even if the room was closed, Nobles could still see
the displays. Thank you Harlan.
Believe it or not, we still have some empty display space! If you have items or information to contribute, please reach out to the main office or directly to our Historian at firstname.lastname@example.org.