‘Ensure Preservation Of Lodge’s Historic Papers’

February 9, 2022 | 0 Comments

The Princess Royal Union Lodge is working with the National Museum of Bermuda [NMB] to “ensure the preservation of the Lodge’s historic papers.”

A spokesperson said, “The Trustees of the Princess Royal Union Lodge [P.R.U.] of Cobb’s Hill, Warwick have signed a Collections Management Agreement with the National Museum of Bermuda [NMB] to ensure the preservation of the Lodge’s historic papers and other holdings for the benefit of residents and visitors to Bermuda. This is an expression of Bermuda’s full heritage and a legacy of mainly its Black community.

“The P.R.U. is a branch of the Independent Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria, an egalitarian Friendly Society which empowered and supported Bermuda’s Black community for over a century. Following its establishment in 1899, P.R.U. remains as the last active Samaritan’s lodge.

“The Lodge was historically active in many areas, not only meeting welfare needs, but also providing resources which were otherwise unavailable to the Black and poor White population. Some examples were insurance, savings and loan facilities; mentorship and education; and instruction in the skills and knowledge needed for informed civic participation.

A spokesperson for the Lodge stated, “With Lodge membership declining in recent years, the Trustees felt it was important to record and secure the preservation of the Lodge’s history for future generations. As a result, Lodge trustee Dr. Michael Bradshaw reached out to the Museum in 2019 to discuss collaborative documentation of the Lodge collection and a possible repository agreement.”

The NMB noted, “A small team from NMB including Conservator Zoe Brady, and interns Jaylen Simons and Andrew Wallace [now Assistant Registrar] worked on the project, photographing, cataloguing, cleaning, and housing over 300 items in archival-quality packing materials.

“The Collection includes Lodge Charters, Minutes books and other documents; photographs; regalia; funerary clothing; symbolic objects and furniture used in Lodge meetings; and objects which were salvaged from other now-closed Samaritan lodges [Victoria Lodge and Philanthropic Lodges]. Special inclusions are an ark dating back over 120 years and a preserved ‘dove icon’.

“The initial 10-year agreement was signed by P.R.U. Lodge Trustees and the Museum representatives and defines responsibilities for the care, conservation, risk management, access and use of the Princess Royal Union Lodge Collection. The collection will be transferred next week to the National Museum with items kindly fumigated by Bermuda Pest Control.

Dr. Michael Bradshaw commented on the collection, “This is an intact collection of a living and functioning lodge which is being shared with the world through the NMB when there are still members and witnesses alive and with ‘solid faculties’. Seldom do acquisitions of historic and cultural items occur with these advantages.”

NMB Director Elena Strong said, “We are honoured to be entrusted with preserving the Princess Royal Union Lodge Collection and making sure it is available to Lodge members, our local and visiting community, and to relevant researchers.”

Original Charter of the Independent Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria signed 1 May, 1899, establishing the Lodge

NMB Princess Royal Union Lodge Bermuda Feb 2022 (1)

Portrait of an early member of the Lodge

NMB Princess Royal Union Lodge Bermuda Feb 2022 (2)

Symbolic wooden ark carried in parades

NMB Princess Royal Union Lodge Bermuda Feb 2022 (3)

Symbolic carving of a dove, symbol of sincerity and simplicity

NMB Princess Royal Union Lodge Bermuda Feb 2022 (4)

Funerary apron worn for the funeral procession of a lodge member, embroidered with precious metal thread, edging and fringe

NMB Princess Royal Union Lodge Bermuda Feb 2022 (5)

Silk collar of office of the Daughter Treasurer, with crossed-keys symbol embroidered in gold thread

NMB Princess Royal Union Lodge Bermuda Feb 2022 (6)

Lodge members Calvin Smith, Valeria Tuzo and Michael Bradshaw signing the Collections Management agreement at the Lodge on Sunday 16 January 2022

NMB Princess Royal Union Lodge Bermuda Feb 2022 (7)

click here Bermuda National Museum of Bermuda

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