Iowa Masonic Library and Museum- Cedar Rapids, Iowa
This library and museum offers the one of the most complete collections of Masonic artifacts from around the world. The Iowa Masonic Library is reputed to be the largest in the world, and is at least one of the top five, with over 100,000 volumes. Both Masonic and general books are included in the collections and the library is open to anyone, whether Masons or not.
The building is constructed of Vermont Marble, with grey marble from Carthage, Missouri, lining the interior halls. Metal work in the windows, doors and stair rails is of bronze.
The main portion of the building is over 245 feet long and 50 feet wide, while the library wing at the west end is 113 feet deep.
A prominent feature of the exhibit is the array of Masonic aprons selected from the collection in the library possession. These range from the simple white leather apron, more ancient than the Golden Fleece or "Roman Eagle" to the purple bordered and ornamented dress of a Grand Master. Several hand-embroidered and hand-painted silk aprons of the eighteenth century are to be seen; and there are leather aprons which have been decorated in various ways.
There is also a very nice display of modern porcelain and glassware, consisting of plates, loving cups, mugs, and pitchers, issued by various Masonic bodies as commemorative pieces.
The museum has a fine assortment of Knight Templar swords, many of them having been worn by Past Grand Commanders of the Grand Commandery of Iowa.
Also on display are rare examples showing the evolution of the written and printed word. The earliest records are found on the ancient Babylonian clay bricks, upon which inscriptions were cut with a stylus prior to baking. Photographs show the ancient Eqyptian writings on papyrus.
Phone: (319) 365-1438
Location: 813 First Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Hours: 8-noon and 1 – 5 Mon – Fri and Saturday by appointment.