Bullock Texas State History Museum presents "Mystery and Benevolence" opening day
Discover the mysterious and iconic art and objects from the golden age of America's secret societies. Created by the American Folk Art Museum in New York City, the exhibition "Mystery and Benevolence" explores the fascinating symbolism and imagery associated with Masonic and Odd Fellows folk art.
The Masons and Odd Fellows trace their roots back to European trade guilds from the 1100s and 1200s and came to America by the 1700s. By the early 1900s, Free Masonry and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows had reached a popularity where it is estimated one in five men belonged to one of the secret societies. Both were formed as benevolent groups to better their communities through the charitable support of orphans, the sick, and the poor. Over the last 300 years, the symbolism and imagery of these secret societies has fascinated and influenced American culture.
Come discover how the secretive iconography communicates the ideals of fellowship, labor, charity, passage, and wisdom — the core tenants of fraternal teachings. Whether you know the secret handshakes or not, the amazing artworks found in the exhibition are certain to enlighten and enchant you.
The exhibition will be on display through September 7.