The Michigan Masonic Museum and Library can be divided into a number of different significant collections that have either come to library from the passing of a brother or been gifted by individuals interested in preserving their Masonic collections in perpetuity for the benefit of Michigan Masonry and the public. The Museum and Library is always interested in receiving items to enhance our collection. Charitable giving options are available.
The family of PGM Ronald Schwartz, 1977-1978, gifted this collection of Masonic books, photos, and memorabilia to the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library in 2011. The collection contains an extensive set of materials regarding the formation and growth of the Michigan Grand Lodge's Board of General Purposes (a Masonic representative legislative body) as well as a number Masonic print publications from the Detroit area. Collections such as this are always welcome and most often contribute to filling holes in collections of Masonic print material being collated by the Museum and Library. The Museum and Library wishes to thank the Schwartz family for their kindness in making this contribution.
An overwhelming majority of the Museum and Library's rare book collection is originally from the collection of the James Fairbairn Smith of Detroit. Our James Fairbairn Smith Rare Book Room is a storage area for many of our oldest and unusual books. The climate is controlled in this room to protect its contents. Some of our earliest texts include Masonic books published around the time of the American revolution and a French Masonic ritual from the early 1700s. Smith was a Masonic author and eminent patron of Masonic learning and the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library. More information about Smith is available here.
The life of Grand Master Lou B. Winsor has been well documented through Masonic records. The Michigan Masonic Museum and Library is continually building collections which document this brother's fascinating life. In addition to diaries, print materials, and secondary references in Masonic publications, the library maintains a collection of photographs of, or relating to, PGM Winsor's life. The collection currently stands at around 200 images and is added to as appropriate images are discovered in other sources and collections. This collection is a particularly good example of one that has been built over time from various acquisitions and sources.
Easily the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library's undiscovered country. This collection is composed of: (1) Materials and images pertaining to the Past Grand Masters of Michigan Masonry; (2) Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Michigan (an annual publication documenting the events transpiring in the Michigan Grand Lodge during any given year); and (3) What we commonly refer to the as the "Grand Lodge Archives." This set of papers represents early correspondence between the Grand Secretary's office and constituent lodges of the Grand Lodge of Michigan from the 1860s to the 1920s. We consider it undiscovered country because it is still largely un-indexed and unexamined. There are significant handling and preservation concerns owing the age and fragility of the documents themselves. Also, a majority of the collection is still rolled and/or bundled by string from the particular year in which it was originally stored. The Archives are currently stored in twenty bankers boxes and are awaiting such time as the necessary resources are available to unlock what is contained within them.
We will continue to showcase collections of the Michigan Masonic Museum and Library. Please contact the Museum and Library if you have an interest in donating your collection.