Mr. Dylan Sweyko-Kuhlman, Archivist of our Kansas Masonic Library and Museum, provided an update about our online collection to the annual meeting of the Kansas Lodge of Research (KSLOR) in Topeka on Thursday, March 15, 2018. As a reminder, KSLOR is the group that made the online collection possible through our donations for the PastPerfect archiving software Dylan uses to catalog our holdings. A button labeled Library & Archives has been added to the menu above so you’ll be able to easily find the collection as long as your remember KSLOR.org.
Per Dylan, the next series of priorities is to scan in the most requested or needed books in the collection so you’ll be able to access them online. These would be the books that are not available elsewhere: The out-of-print, rare ones, and one-of-a-kind. For those books currently available for sale at, say, Amazon or Macoy’s, we’ll need to find them in catalogs of local libraries where they can be read online or ordered delivered to your local library for check out. Maybe a revamped Research Committee can start posting links to the libraries and repositories of Research Lodges and grand Lodge libraries of the other jurisdictions in the US (hint-hint).
The collection can also hold your digital artifacts. Several KSLOR members mentioned having pictures of key events or historical figures in their lodge. These are important parts of our heritage and should not be neglected. I recommend that you call Dylan at 785-234-5518 and coordinate how to get those artifacts into the online collection. It is my dream that someday we will be able to research and find the golden gems that are currently quietly reposing in dusty lodge archives across the state.
There was mention that the Grand Lodge office is attempting to digitize all the membership records. This is excellent when tracing a family’s Masonic history. Our eventual digitized collection of both Grand Lodge and local lodge holdings will take the family tracing to the next level. You’ll not only know who in your family was a Mason, but what they did as a Mason and their impact on their lodge and community.
History has a way of repeating itself and the glory days of men seeking Masonic membership en masse is not behind us. It is ahead of us. As younger generations begin to look for a solid rock in the rough seas of anti-establishment, pursuit of the profane, and distributed electronic societies, they will discover what we have and come to us in numbers.