2023 Sankey Lecture to Focus on Freemason Material Culture

Sankey Lecture on Freemason Material Culture to offer a “Masonic Antique Roadshow” 

The Marie Kondo Method. Swedish Death Cleaning. “Hoarders” reality TV shows. Downsizing.  

De-cluttering is a hot trend in our heavily material culture. 

At risk, however, is the loss of culturally significant objects and entire collections of ephemera, records, and artifacts.  

Dr. Heather K. Calloway, the current Executive Director of University Collections at Indiana University, is working to manage and preserve collections of fraternal organizations, namely, the Freemasons, that are at serious risk of being discarded. 

“Whether a lodge is moving, closing, or downsizing their space, the collections amassed by fraternal groups are at risk of being orphaned… They are often stored in closets, basements, and attics where environmental and storage conditions are abysmal. There is little or no emergency planning for these objects,” says Dr. Calloway. 

Dr. Calloway will be presenting her lecture, “Skeletons in the Lodge Hall: Hidden Collections and Fraternal Curiosities,” at the 14th Annual Charles A. Sankey Lecture Series on Sunday, March 26th, in Sean O’Sullivan Theatre. 

The annual lecture series was created in 2009 by the Sankey Centre for Masonic Studies in conjunction with Brock University. The Centre is named in honour of Dr. Charles A. Sankey, who served as Chancellor of Brock University from 1969-1974 and was a renowned Masonic scholar. He was active in all the concordant bodies of Masonry including the Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite, the Royal Order of Scotland, and Royal Arch Masons. His extensive collection of rare Masonic books and papers is in the Special Collections of the James Gibson Library at Brock. 

“We are always excited when the Sankey Lecture comes around,” says archivist David Sharron, the Head of Archives and Special Collections at the Brock Library.  “Hearing presenters like Heather Calloway and the attending Masons and scholars speak about Freemasonry so intelligently and passionately makes us feel secure that the Masonic book collection we have at Brock will always be needed and regarded in the best light.”  

As a part of the event, which is back in person for the first time since 2019, Dr. Calloway will be bringing some objects from the Indiana University’s collection of Freemason objects. Along with Mr. Sharron, she invites members of the public to bring in their own Freemason objects to discuss their historical significance.  

Dr. Calloway notes that, “Fraternal history and material culture is found everywhere. It is held by private groups, archives, public and academic libraries, historical societies, and museums… Without action to address these needs for collection stewardship, many are at high risk for damage or loss.” 

When: Sunday, March 26, 2023, 3:00 pm.
Where: Sean O’Sullivan Theatre

Reception and “Masonic Antiques Roadshow” to follow in Market Hall. 

Please reserve your FREE TICKETS in advance.  

More details can be found on ExperienceBU. 


Categories: News, Sankey