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Education in Freemasonry is meant to be a lifelong process, furthering our understanding of the fraternity and its relevance to today's world.

The Institute for Masonic Studies was founded in 1997 to foster Masonic knowledge and understanding among the Masons of California and the larger world of Freemasonry. The Institute hosts a number of important programs and resources for members and lodges, including the following:


Calendar of Event


UCLA Freemasonry and Civil Society Program

The Freemasonry and Civil Society Program is a collaborative partnership between the University of California, Los Angeles History Department, the Grand Lodge of California, and the Institute for Masonic Studies. The Program, which offers courses investigating the history of Freemasonry within the context of civil society, sponsors a post-doctoral fellow each year.

The Freemasonry and Civil Society Program develops educational seminars to coincide with current research. Open to the public, these events seek to educate and inspire scholars of the craft.

Past topics include American and Latin American Freemasonry; Freemasonry - A Global Perspective, Past and Present; Freemasonry, Aestetics, and Civil Society; and Freemasonry and the Conspiracy Theories It Evokes.

Papers presented at past UCLA conferences.


Enriching History Colloquium

The Enriching History Colloquium is presented through a partnership between the Grand Lodge of California, the Policy Studies Organization, and American Public University. Initiated in 2013, this semi-annual program brings together a diverse group of Masonic scholars to explore the cultural and social experiences of Americans in the past.

Please note that due to unforeseen circumstances, the 2015 Enriching History Colloquium has been canceled.

Past colloquia topics include: "Thomas Starr King, Earl Warren, and Freemasonry in California" and "Revisiting the Gold Rush: Stories Untold."


Annual California Masonic Symposium

The Grand Lodge of California and the California Masonic Foundation sponsor the Annual California Masonic Symposium. Each year this event addresses a topic of historical and philosophical relevance to Masonry.

The 16th Annual California Masonic Symposium will be held on June 11, 2016 in San Francisco and June 12, 2016 in Pasadena.

Questions? Contact Member Services at (415) 292-9180.

Past Symposia topics have included: Evolution of the Masonic Ritual; Struggles for Control of Freemasonry: Great Britain and America in the Early Grand Lodge Era; Freemasonry in Mexico and Latin America; Freemasonry and Secret Societies; Issues in Contemporary Freemasonry; The Age of Franklin: Freemasonry, the Declaration of Independence, and the American Enlightenment; Freemasonry and the American Frontier; The Morgan Affair: The Kidnapping that Changed American Freemasonry; Freemasonry and Women's Role; and Freemasonry and the Foundation of the American Republic.

Archive of papers, from past Symposia


Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry

The Grand Lodge of California opened the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry in 1997 at the California Masonic Memorial Temple in San Francisco.

The museum contains over 8,000 titles and includes Masonic art and artifacts from California and around the world.

The Library and Museum seeks to:

  • Tell the story of Freemasonry in California to Masons and to the general public
  • Serve as a research source for both lay and professional Masonic scholars and researchers
  • Assist Masons who seek to increase and develop their personal knowledge of Freemasonry

To volunteer as a library docent, contact Adam Kendall, collections manager, at 415/292-9137 or visit

Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum Webinars

The Library & Museum produces a series of webinars to spread awareness of current Masonic research being conducted by California Freemasons. Sample topics include modern Templarism, the Ku Klux Klan's relationship to American fraternalism, preservation of Masonic history and culture, and educational Masonic tools. For more information, contact Collections Manager Adam Kendall.

Masonic Education Videos

The Art of Masonic Education

From floor sketches to tracing boards, Masonic artists over the centuries have produced incredible works to serve as lodge teaching aids. In addition to being artifacts of our fraternity, many of these pieces are treasures of the art world. This video explores the history and significance of art in Masonic education from the 18th century to today, as told by historians, Masonic scholars, and the artists themselves.

The Holy Writings

Described as the "first great light," the holy writings provide a link to Freemasonry's historical beliefs. This video documentary short, produced by the Masonic Grand Lodge of California and the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry, offers new insight into one of Masonry's most treasured three great lights.

Emblems of Innocence and Honor: The Masonic Apron

Described as a Mason's "badge" and an emblem of innocence, the apron provides a link to Freemasonry's historical roots. This video documentary short, produced by the Masonic Grand Lodge of California and the Henry Wilson Coil Library and Museum of Freemasonry, offers new insight into one of Masonry's most treasured ritual garments.

Research Lodges and Research Organizations

Research lodges in California conduct research, hold discussions, gather and preserve Masonic information, maintain libraries, supply papers or speakers at the request of other lodges, and conduct a program of general service in the field of Masonic education and information.

The Research Lodges in California include:
El Camino Research Lodge - San Jose
Northern California Research Lodge - San Francisco
Orange County Research Lodge - Anaheim
Southern California Research Lodge - Anaheim
Golden Compasses Research Lodge - Sacramento

Research organizations around the world include:
The Masonic Society
The Masonic Restoration Foundation
National Masonic Research Society
International Conference of the History of Freemasonry
Masonic Library and Museum Association
Association of Masonic Museums, Libraries, and Archives of Europe
Freemasonry and Civil Society program; REHMLAC, Revista de Estudios Historicos de La Masoneria
The Scottish Rite Research Society

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