"No Secrets at This Temple -- Just Beauty" Masonic Temple Tip by PR-7
Masonic Temple, Philadelphia: 5 reviews and 4 photos
Full disclosure: I am not, nor have any close acquaintance with, a Mason. The following is not in any way an apologetic for a group that has no need to create apologetics.
During the European Middle Ages, masons formed societies dedicated to the common good and to equality in society. The ideals of these masonic societies were eventually championed by the intellectual leaders of the Enlightenment, such that "masonic groups" eventually lost any connection with the occupation of masonry, and became synonymous with groups dedicated to social equality and civic virtue. Not surprisingly, many of the leaders of the American Revolution were masons, and the groups continue to have a strong and visible presence in U.S. society.
Masonic ceremonies are closed to non-members. Because of that, rumors about and suspicion of these groups has been rampant -- and invariably unfair. Other than these ceremonial rites, nothing about the Masons is secret: members openly and proudly proclaim who they are, buildings are open to visitors, and pictures of their leaders are freely present. If you MUST know about these rites, former Masons have "revealed" these secrets decades ago -- just do a simple Internet search.
The tour includes visits to several meeting rooms built and maintained by each of the groups. Most have a triangle in the middle (sorry, you'll have to look it up) for ceremonies, seats for members to attend, and beautiful art and architecture appropriate for the group. It isn't Palace of Versailles, but the care they take in building these is impressive. The Egyptian Room, for instance, has heiro-glyphs so well made and authentic that local students use this room for study of ancient Egypt.
Tours, open to anyone, are available several times each day except Sunday and holidays. Adult admission is $8, and the tour takes a couple hours. If a Masonic activity occurs, tours may be cancelled, so it is best to call ahead. Admission also allows you to freely use their library for any information about Masons you could possibly want -- including the "secret" ceremonies.
Address: 1 North Broad Street, Philadelphia PA 19107
Directions: Adjacent to and just north of City Hall, at the intersection of Market and Broad.
Phone: (215) 988-1917
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