Out of an abundance of caution in light of newly emerging and highly contagious strains of Covid, the George Washington Masonic National Memorial is closed to tourism at this time. Although we are not accepting reservations for on-site tours, please enjoy our online Virtual Tour and explore our other educational offerings. Please be safe and follow official recommendations so that our nation can emerge from this unfortunate pandemic.
Due to coronavirus safety measures, these parts of the Memorial may not currently be visited. However our Virtual Tour of these areas is available.
Visitors enter Memorial Hall through the massive portico, symbolic of the entrances of ancient Greek and Roman temples. On either side of the portico are tablets engraved with passages from Washington’s correspondence, which reflect his deep regard for the Masonic fraternity. Memorial Hall features eight green granite columns 40 feet high and more than four feet wide. The hall features an exquisite marble floor and two magnificent murals painted by Bro. Allyn Cox. The mural on the north wall depicts General Washington and his officers attending a St. John’s Day Observance at Christ Church in Philadelphia on December 28, 1778. The mural on the south wall depicts President Washington laying the cornerstone of the United States Capitol on September 18, 1793. At the end, in a rounded niche, stands a colossal statue of George Washington wearing his Masonic regalia. The statue was created by Bro. Bryant Baker and dedicated in 1950 by President and Freemason Harry Truman.
Adjacent to Memorial Hall is the Replica Lodge Room of Alexandria-Washington Lodge № 22. This space mimics the old meeting room of Alexandria-Washington Lodge as it existed on the second floor of City Hall for more than 140 years, beginning on September 16, 1802. The Replica Lodge Room displays the original 1802 lodge furniture, the famous William Joseph Williams portrait of Washington, a replica of the famous Watson-Cossoul apron, the Capitol Cornerstone Trowel, and many other fascinating artifacts.
The Northwest Hallway adjacent to Memorial Hall contains the Founders Hall Exhibit. This exhibit features busts of Charles H. Callahan, the originator and driving force behind the creation of the Memorial, as well as the first three Presidents of the Memorial Association. Also featured are photographs of past and present Memorial Officers, including photographs of the 1910 first meeting of the Memorial Association and the currently serving Board of Directors of the Association.
The Gothic Style of the North Lodge Room balances the South Lodge Room’s classically-inspired interior. Its imposing arched ceiling is constructed with exposed oak beams, and the surrounding oak balconies, wainscoting and gothic arched stage add to the drama of the room’s setting.
Our classical Theater’s semicircular seating accommodates an audience of nearly 400. Sixteen gold-veined Missouri marble columns of the Doric order stand around the perimeter on the mezzanine. Along the mezzanine are 14 bronze plaques depicting the Presidents of the United States who were Freemasons. The Washington family’s coat of arms— later incorporated into the crest of the Memorial Association—appears in the cartouche above the stage. The portrait of Washington seen in the Theater was painted by local artist Christopher Erney, commissioned for the Centennial of the founding of the Memorial Association.
The South Lodge Room is the home of Alexandria-Washington Lodge ? 22 since 1947. This suite of rooms includes an anteroom and a small exhibit gallery which offers a number of Alexandria-Washington Lodge artifacts, objects, paintings and a portrait display of Past Masters of the Lodge. The immense Lodge Room evokes the Neoclassical style of the young Republic, current when the Lodge gained its first permanent temple room in 1802.
Located on the south side of the first floor, this exhibit tells the story of Freemasonry’s origins and development, its arrival in the American Colonies, and the role it has come to play in the history of the United States. In addition to George Washington, several other American Presidents and leaders who were Masons are profiled: Benjamin Franklin, Andrew Jackson, and Harry Truman. This room is also the location of our frequently-updated Grand Lodge of the Month exhibit.
On the first floor surrounding Grand Masonic Hall is The Golden Age of Masonic Architecture, an exhibit of framed color prints of great Masonic buildings from around the country constructed in the same time period as the Memorial. Also on the first floor is The Form and Function of American Freemasonry exhibit, highlighting four great American Freemasons: Washington, Franklin, Jackson, and Truman. The exhibit informs visitors about Freemasonry whose members, like the four highlighted, improve themselves as they improve society.
Directly below Memorial Hall, in the center space of the first level, is Grand Masonic Hall. This room is entered down flights of stairs and is encircled by grille-lined balconies. The hall’s eight Doric columns of polished New Hampshire granite are 4½ feet in diameter and 18 feet high. The room is enclosed by six etched glass panels featuring the Memorial Crest and the Square and Compasses. In the east alcove is a bronze bust of George Washington surrounded by a mural of Mount Vernon. At the west end of Grand Masonic Hall is a large bronze-toned Memorial Crest, surrounded by the seals of the Grand Lodges that support the Memorial with an annual per capita contribution.
Located next to the parking lot exit on the lower level, the Memorial Gift Shop offers prints of some of the Memorial’s collections, books, clothing, jewelry, postcards and finely-crafted holiday ornaments. Items may also be ordered online.
On the third level of the tower is The Family of Freemasonry Exhibit, our newest exhibit, featuring organizations such as the Grottoes of North America, The Order of the Eastern Star, The Tall Cedars of Lebanon, the Scottish Rite, the York Rite, the Shrine, and Youth Orders.
While currently closed due to coronavirus measures, please use our Virtual Tour of the Family of Freemasonry to visit this exhibit.
On the fourth level of the tower is the George Washington Museum. The exhibit’s alcoves present Brother Washington as a Virginia Planter, Model Citizen, Military Officer, our Nation’s First President, Mourned Hero, and American Icon. The exhibit features a large number of artifacts from Mount Vernon that were donated by Washington family descendants, including the 1792 Washington Family Bible. These are some of the greatest treasures of the Memorial’s collection. The mezzanine level presents additional exhibits that explore the original construction of the George Washington Masonic National Memorial, the Freemasonry’s architectural symbolism, and items that once decorated the walls of Mount Vernon.
While currently closed due to coronavirus measures, please use our Virtual Tour of the George Washington Museum to visit this exhibit.
On the tower’s eighth level there is an impressive chapel expressing the symbolism of the Masonic Knights Templar. Dedicated in 1957, the Chapel includes four stained glass windows designed by Bro. Allyn Cox.
While currently closed due to coronavirus measures, please use our Virtual Tour of the Chapel to visit this space.
The ninth floor of the Memorial opens to our outdoor Observation Deck, which offers a stunning 360-degree view of historic Alexandria, the District of Columbia, and the surrounding region. And, inside, patrons may view an interesting exhibit of historical photographs depicting the construction of the Memorial in the 1920s and 30s.
While currently closed due to coronavirus measures, please use our Virtual Tour to visit this area.