A Mason’s apron is one of the most recognizable symbols of Freemasonry. Aprons are personal—Freemasons often own and wear them for their entire Masonic career. Aprons also provide a tangible connection between a member and his experience as a Mason. Masonic aprons were often bespoke works of art, constructed and ornamented by expert craftsmen and women at the specific request of a client.
Drawing on a variety of sources—other aprons, book illustrations, engraved certificates and their own imaginations—for inspiration, over the years apron makers have created a wonderful diversity of Masonic aprons. They crafted these aprons from myriad materials including leather, linen, silk and cotton and decorated them with paint, ink, embroidery, bullion, beads and sequins. The Museum is well-suited to undertake an exhibition exploring Masonic aprons; it collects actively in this area and holds over 400 examples.
“The Badge of a Freemason: Masonic Aprons from the Collection” will feature more than 50 Masonic aprons as well as related artifacts from the Museum’s rich collection, such as tracing boards, publications, prints and photographs. Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to learn more about the history, symbolism and workmanship behind Masonic aprons as well as the intriguing stories of the people who made and wore them.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website