New exhibition opens at Braintree Museum called "Engaging with the Community"

Tuesday, 24 August 2021

Braintree Museum is excited to be working with Essex Freemasons to present a new exhibition named “Engaging with the Community” to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Lodge of Saint Mary which meets at Howard Hall in Bocking

This is one of the first exhibitions of its kind in England and will be open for three weeks starting on Saturday 11th September to Saturday 2nd October 2021.

The Freemasons have also given £1,000 to pay for a one-year family membership for Braintree Freemasons. This will include free access to the galleries charting the history of the town from the pre-historic era up to the 21st century, the Crittall Windows display, exhibits showing the importance of both the Cortauld and Warner textile firms and the work of John Ray, acknowledged as the father of natural history.

The “Engaging with the Community” exhibition will reveal how the members of the oldest local Masonic lodge have contributed to the community of Braintree and its surrounding areas over the last 150 years, including the Museum’s founder Alfred Hills and well-known members of the Crittall, Lake and Elliot families. On display for the first time to the public will be many items and documents associated with the Freemasons.

John Adlam is the Immediate Past Master and long-serving Almoner of the 40 plus strong Lodge, founded in 1870. Both Sandra, his wife and John are stalwarts of the Museum’s volunteer team which supports the Museum shop, assists with events, helps with the maintenance and upkeep of the former Manor Street School Victorian building and does some collection work. John said: 'The Lodge has played an enormous role in the local community for the last 150 years and during that period we have collated records and images of our history and also that of Braintree. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our 150th anniversary and support the Braintree Museum at the same time.'

The exhibition, which had to be deferred for one year due to Covid restrictions, will give "' glimpse of what Freemasons do and how they contribute to the local community' said Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Lee Taylor. The Chairperson of Braintree District Museum Trust, Sheila Charrington added: 'We are extremely pleased to be sharing the story of the Lodge of Saint Mary. Their members have played a huge part in the history of our town and this exhibition is an opportunity to highlight their contributions'.

As well as members of the public and their families, the new exhibition is open to all Freemasons, especially those meeting in the Masonic Centres in the surrounding areas to Braintree, including Halstead, Kelvedon, Witham as well as Chelmsford and Colchester. Everyone is welcome.

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