The Masonic Lodge Museum Fascinates the Public

The Freemasons have always been a mysterious group inspiring whispers and legends.

Now, you can learn a little more about the fascinating group, and get a little spooked at the same time.

The Masonic Lodge Museum, in Salamanca, Spain, offers an exhibit unlike anything else on earth. It’s full of spooky images, like skulls, blood, and an endless assortment of symbols. You won’t regret visiting this piece of history.  

Why was the Masonic Lodge Museum created?

In 1938, a member of dictator Francisco Franco’s government created the exhibit to scare the public about the dangers of Masonry. Years before, during the Spanish Civil War, Freemasons were outlawed. They built a replica of the freemason’s lodge in Gij√≥n, Spain, and then seized all of the Mason’s paraphernalia from surrounding lodges to expose their secrets to the public. They used the replica to display their seized objects, although it never actually opened to the public until 1993, and that’s what we see as the Masonic Lodge Museum today. 

What can be found in the Masonic Lodge Museum? 

Among the objects displayed are books, medals, jewelry, documents, and ceremonial clothing. Masonic symbols cover the items. Objects with skulls or anything “scary” were given special attention during the time of Francisco Franco, because they would shock the public and drive hate towards the freemasons. Although today these appear as nothing scarier than a Halloween decoration, during their time, it was shocking. 

One of the most interesting objects is a recreation of the Masonic Chamber of Reflection, used by new members to the group. 

How to visit the Masonic Lodge Museum

The exhibit is located in the National Historical Archive building in Salamanca, Spain. It’s part of the Spanish War Museum and is open all week. The best part of all, it’s free to the public. 

W. J. Beal Botanical Garden: A Natural Laboratory

If you ever visit the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing, Michigan, it would serve you well to visit the thriving and fertile W.J. Beal Botanical Garden at the center of campus.

In 1873, back when the school was still an agricultural college, the garden was no more than some beds of grasses and clover planted by Professor William James Beal in a valley by the creek. Today, this expansive botanical garden in an area once known as “Sleepy Hollow” offers students and researchers at Michigan State University the opportunity to learn and work in a living, natural laboratory of sorts. 

A Catalog of Life

The numerous beds of plants that comprise the W.J. Beal Botanical Garden are neatly arranged so as to highlight the different ways that humans have benefited from plants over the years. Some beds contain plants with industrial uses, such as those devoted to fibers and dyes, while others highlight medicinal or nutritional purposes, like those for honey and plants with pharmacological benefits.

Each of the categories is explained with clear and meticulous labels which show scientific and ecological information about the plants featured. These labels also explain the human innovations that such plants have helped support. The categorization helps make the gardens into a sort of living library of botany — even the hills around the garden are planted so as to showcase different regional flowers that can be found in Michigan! 

A Place To Learn

While anyone who visits the W.J. Beal Botanic Garden is sure to learn a thing or two about plants, the garden also provides a huge benefit to the university. Students use the garden to further their learning in fields like forestry, botany, veterinary medicine, pharmacology, and much more. Having the garden directly on campus makes it easy for professors to integrate real-life botanical learning into their courses and to give their students hands-on experience in the field. The fact that the garden is free and open to the public is just icing on the cake! 

Grand Central Air Terminal Museum: Aviation History Worth Seeing

Grand Central Air Terminal Museum started as an aviation building.

Now, it’s a historical museum that is owned and operated by Disney. Located in Glendale, California, it has quite the history. The beautiful building has a mix of Spanish Revival, Art Deco, and Streamline Moderne styles. So, come along and take a look.

The Party that got the Town Talking

It all started with a local businessman that wanted to get the people of Glendale talking. He decided to host a party that required visitors to fly into his estate. This attracted the best of the best pilots and movie stars and encouraged the town to consider building a public airport. Opening in 1923, it was first named Glendale Municipal Airport and was the center of Southern California’s air transportation.

Famous Beginnings

Without LAX around yet, this was the airport of choice, and legendary figures in aviation would use this airport for their flights. Names like Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, and Charles Lindbergh came through the airport. By 1929, new investors had expanded the airport and named it Grand Central Air Terminal. Perhaps one of the more famous flights to take off from the newly named airport was when Lindbergh flew coast to coast on the United States’ first regularly scheduled flight. Before this, passengers would travel all day by air, then train by night multiple times to reach the east coast, which took 48 hours. By the late 1930s, aircraft could make the trip in just 15 hours. The small airport was made even more famous because it was the backdrop for several films. One such film was Shirley Temple’s 1934 hit Bright Eyes

War-Time Changes

World War II saw the airport being used as a defense base and was heavily camouflaged. The runway was lengthened to accommodate military planes. After the war, residents complained of the noise, and the runway was shortened. This made the airport accessible only to smaller aircraft, causing a loss in profits, and it closed its doors in 1959.

Disney Moves In

After it closed down, it was known as Grand Central Business Park, and it opened its doors to businesses to rent space. The Walt Disney Company was one of the first companies to move in, and it eventually came to own the entire business center. In 2013, Disney decided to restore the terminal building to its original glory, and once the project completed in 2015, they reopened the facility. Comprised of private offices and a museum, they were able to house original photographs and artifacts, as well as an educational film to show visiting guests. 

Take a Tour for Yourself

Today, you can visit the museum and learn about its roots. Visitors interested in attending one of their free monthly tours can sign up on their website. What a great way to experience a piece of aviation history!