Portrait of John James Howell Coe (1819)Museum of Freemasonry
What is a freemason?
Freemasons are members of one of the world's oldest social and charitable organisations. Freemasons base their traditions on the working practices of the medieval stonemasons who built the castles and cathedrals of Europe.
What do the symbols mean?
The most common symbols are based on the tools of stonemasons. Using geometry, these tools have become symbols for freemasons. Explore our collection to discover some of the meanings behind them.
When did freemasonry start?
There's no exact date for when freemasons first started meeting. However, the first time it became organised by forming a Grand Lodge, was when four lodges met at the Goose and Gridiron Tavern in London on St. John's Day, 1717.
You may have heard of it
Many people have heard of freemasonry. Most have no idea what it actually involves. It's our job to help with that.
Jan Amos Komensky (Comenius) Lodge, member jewel (1919)Museum of Freemasonry
At Museum of Freemasonry, our goal is to help you learn about freemasonry in all its cultural richness. The Museum is a treasure trove for exploration, and the perfect place to discover what freemasonry is all about.
Authors' Lodge, Past Master jewel (1913)Museum of Freemasonry
Through the ages
Our exhibitions and events illuminate the history of freemasonry, explore its traditions and values, and reveal its significance through the ages and around the world.
Did you know we've been around since the 1830s?
What you know as Museum of Freemasonry actually started out as a library and museum for freemasons to share their knowledge and research with each other and future generations.
Finding a home
After moving about Great Queen Street in London's Covent Garden for a while, the library and museum eventually found a home in the second Freemasons' Hall from the late 19th century on. It was a bit of a squeeze though.
A permanent home came in the new Freemasons' Hall we all know today. Completed in 1933, the beautiful Art Deco landmark came with a dedicated space for reading and displaying artefacts from United Grand Lodge of England's own collections.
Learn more about the building of Freemasons' Hall: One in a million
From freemasons to you
The collections were organised and grown by the first Librarian Henry Sadler, who was a distinguished freemason and historian. Today you don't have to be a freemason to work here and anyone can register as a reader to see our books.
The Library and Archives
Freemasons' Hall was built with a dedicated library that has developed one of the largest and most respected collections on freemasonry in the world. There are around 60,000 items in the Library collection.
The Library and Archives
The space has been restored to former Art Deco glory. If every box in our Archives collection was laid end-to-end, the line would stretch to 3.25km, which is from Freemasons’ Hall to Euston Underground Station and back!
We opened to the public in the 1980s and have always been free to visit. The displays may have changed since the early days, as we have about 30,000 objects in our Museum collection.
Expanding on the first floor
The original Library and Museum gallery (what we call the South Gallery) remain unchanged on the first floor of Freemasons' Hall. But we have grown over the years, taking over the former Reading Room to become the North Gallery.
North Gallery at Museum of Freemasonry (2019)Museum of Freemasonry
The North Gallery is where your visit will start. Here you can find the permanent exhibition Three Centuries of English Freemasonry.
You can learn all about the symbols, traditions and values of the freemasons since four London lodges met a tavern in 1717 and formed the first Grand Lodge.
Museum of Freemasonry: Home of the freemasons' history
Discover 300 years of freemasons' history at a museum in London like no other.
Find us between Covent Garden and Holborn, or visit online.
Free entry, and open to all.