Established in 1975 by Scottish Rite Freemasons of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, U.S.A., the National Heritage Museum tells America’s story. For over thirty years, the Museum has collected, by gift and by purchase, objects that help tell that story. Today, the collection numbers over 16,000 objects.
The collection’s primary strength is its American Masonic and fraternal items. The Masonic and fraternal apron collection is a particular highlight. With over 400 aprons in the collection, the Museum serves as an important resource for the study of these intriguing pieces. Spanning three centuries and the globe, the apron collection offers potential for new interpretations not only of Masonic history, but also of American history.
Our website includes a section called Treasures, which highlights about 100 objects in the collection, including some aprons. One of my favorites is shown here – it was probably made in Herkimer County, New York in the early 1800s. In addition to its Masonic symbolism, the apron depicts two Masons dressed in their lodge finery, including their aprons. The apron offers a Germanic interpretation of a popular Masonic design that appeared in English and American engravings between 1790 and 1815.
We encourage scholars and researchers to contact us if our apron collection could be helpful for their research. And, we continue to add to our collection, looking to increase our strengths and to fill our gaps. We are very interested in aprons that have a story about who owned, made or used them. If you have a special apron that you would like to consider donating to the Museum, please contact our Senior Curator of Collections, Aimee Newell, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Masonic York Rite Royal Arch Apron, 1800-1820, probably Herkimer County, New York, National Heritage Museum, Special Acquisitions Fund, 84.15.