The Museum & Library

The Museum & Library @ DGL of Madras – An Invaluable Source of Masonic Heritage and Information

The District Grand Lodge of Madras possesses various rare and valuable artifacts of historical and masonic significance. All of these are safely curated and displayed at The Museum & Library.


A Library was established at the Freemasons Hall premises at least eighty years ago in the building which stood where the District Grand Assistant Secretary’s Quarters is now. Later, some 30 years ago it was shifted to the erstwhile DGL Office, as a part of it. Books and periodicals were duly numbered and archived. When that building collapsed the Library continued to be housed in the remaining portion. It had then gone into disuse and stayed there until the old building was restored and the contents salvaged. In the ’new’ building a specially designed hall has been provided for the Library.

In 2009-11 the books, periodicals were re-inventoried, reclassified according to the standard coding used by the United Grand Lodge and properly stacked in designated shelves. The books were further classified according to their physical condition. Though a large number of them have gone brittle and a few insect bored, all of them can still be used carefully by readers: of course they cannot be lent out for obvious reasons of safety.

The District Grand Lodge has created a Library Fund to restore the non-replaceable records and books and to augment the stock with replacements for the damaged material and newer publications. The Library is being developed into a full fledged institution of research and Masonic Learning.

Our Treasure House contains books, periodicals and records which can be generally grouped into Books, Periodicals and Proceedings. Proceedings include those of the Grand Lodge (1884 onwards), Grand Chapter (1845 onwards), the District Grand Lodge (1867 onwards) and District Grand Chapter (1871 onwards) . 

Reader Counseling and Assistance

Readers are given full understanding of the age and condition of the books and records, and assistance in locating and handling them. Book marking and special storage to enable continual reading of the selected item over a period is also provided. This service is particularly appreciated by readers when the books cannot be taken outside.

Research Assistance

University and High School Students interested in undertaking research in Freemasonry as subject for their doctoral thesis or other dissertations can be provided guidance and assistance in developing their synopsis and hypotheses and in thesis structuring and write up. Special lectures on specific aspects of Masonry on which the research scholar is interested can also be arranged. 

Reprographic support

Photocopying and photographing pages from various documents accessible to general readers will be arranged on request. Until reprographic facilities are established at the library, this will be done by expert reprographers outside under the supervision of the District Librarian.

Our crown jewel without a doubt is the Portrait of Lord Ampthill, painted by HH Raja Ravi Varma.

The portrait is about 4 feet in height and 2 1/2 feet in width and was painted by Raja Ravi Varma in the year when Lord Ampthill was the then Governor of the Madras Presidency. This portrait can be viewed at the main dining hall of the Freemason’s Hall at Chennai.