Panama Canal

Have you explored our online collection?

GL2004_6181a-bT1 Last winter, we unveiled a new way to browse selections from the National Heritage Museum collection online.  A new interface allows web visitors to search for specific names, dates, descriptive terms and more.  Each record has a photograph of the object, along with a brief description and information about its origin and history, if known.

In August 2010, we added almost 100 records, which join the initial 125 records.  The new batch includes a variety of highlights from our object collection, along with a selection of treasures from the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts collection, on long-term loan to the Museum.

Included among the items from the Grand Lodge collection are this wooden gavel and tray, presented to Grand Master Arthur D. Prince in 1921 when he visited Canal Zone Lodge in Panama.  In 1912, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts granted a dispensation for Canal Zone Masons, many of whom were Americans working to build the canal, to establish Sojourners Lodge.  Today, there are four lodges in Panama that operate under the authority of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts.  The Grand Master first visited the Panamanian lodges under his jurisdiction in 1914.  Subsequent Grand Masters usually visit once during their three-year term of office.

To access the online collection, visit our website,, and click on the “online collection” link.  We appreciate all comments and feedback.  Please feel free to contact Dr. Aimee Newell, Director of Collections, at  And, remember to check back as new records are added.

Gavel and Tray, 1921, Panama, Collection of the Grand Lodge of Masons in Massachusetts at the National Heritage Museum, GL2004.6181a-b.  Photograph by David Bohl.