What started out as a comment made 10 to 15 years ago, to the stepson of Danny Kennedy, a Weston Mason, a superb display has now been set out at the Museum.
The comment was “you have to be careful with these Masons, they can get you killed” – made by the boss of Danny’s stepson. This is what he knew about masonry and caused a great deal of laughter between Danny and his Stepson.
Since then Danny has taken it upon himself to spread the word about Masonry, the good work it does and to try to change the public perception about our ancient institution and all the good it does around the world.
Around three years ago, Danny popped into his local Museum at Weston s Mare, with his grandchildren and noticed that there was an exhibition about the Rotary club, he thought “why are we not doing this about Masonry?” So he approached the people putting together the exhibition and starting asking questions as to how can an exhibition be put on, can anyone do it, what do you need, how long is the waiting time? – which of course was longer due to the COVID lockdown!
The big question was, who says yes, a lady called Jane gave Danny her email address and after several conversations the answer was yes, indeed.
About 20 months ago, Danny spoke with Martin Slocombe about putting on an exhibition, which he thought was an excellent idea and told him to “push on” with it. Jane Hill the Heritage and Community Officer only works part-time, so this also took a little longer than expected. Nothing could be done until the contract for a Community Exhibition had been signed, which was done three months ago.
The first act was to explain what Masonry was to Jane and Chris Fisher (a volunteer Museum Worker) and dispel some of the myths about the secret society etc. So the first thing they did was invite them to the Masonic Centre in Weston; they met at the cafe across the road from the Hall, and despite the sign pointing to it, Jane and Chris admitted they had never noticed it before, even though they had driven past it many times. (so much for secrecy)
Danny introduced them to Stuart Boyd, secretary of Tivoli Lodge, Barrie Palmer BEM the Provincial membership Officer and Yula the Bar manager at the Centre. They were shown the honours boards and discussed the history of Masonry, Stuart being a fountain of knowledge!
With regard to the exhibition, Jane and Chris were far more experienced in this, as they had been putting these together for several years, as everyone was keen that the presentation would make sense to non-masons and Masons alike.
The one issue they had was the Museum do not like to tell people what they are doing, as they are not “can rattlers!” However all of this was overcome and on Wednesday 7th March 2023 the exhibition went “Live”.
Danny would like to thank everyone that helped him put this together, as it had never been done before, In particular Chris (who has spent over 140 hours putting it all together) and Jane, all the Weston Lodges that donated , and of course his wife who said “no more Museums or Mannequins PLEASE!”
Danny hopes this “prototype” will be copied around the country, to show the World what a fantastic institution Freemasonry Is.
Well done Danny, from everyone of the province of Somerset!
The Museum opening times are Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 4PM – more information can be found here.