[If you haven’t already—check out my website on Masonic Structures here!]
As many of you probably remember, I spent this past semester interning for the House of the Temple, the headquarters of the Supreme Council of the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite in the United States (I know—quite a mouthful). During these last few months at the House of the Temple, I have been fortunate enough to learn a great deal about the history of Freemasonry in this country, as well as the District’s ties to the fraternity. I was also able to gain first-hand knowledge on the extent of the public’s knowledge on this history, which, in my opinion at least, was far less than it should be. Freemasonry has been intricately linked with the United States since the country first began to take form; however, with the recent popularity of Masonic conspiracies, many people have misjudged and do not understand the rich past of the organization. In order to clarify some of the misunderstandings surrounding Freemasonry, I decided to create a web resource that would educate D.C. visitors on the history of Masons in our city.
My initial idea for this project was to create some form of an interactive map of the House of the Temple—this quickly got pushed aside as I expanded my audience to include Masons. Many members of Freemasonry travel to the House of the Temple every year in order to learn more about their brotherhood or to simply admire the mecca of the Scottish Rite. Many Masons are often unaware of the many other Masonic structures located in D.C. and, upon learning of them, are very eager to explore these sites as well. This excitement to explore more of the city, which I witnessed multiple times, led me to broaden my digital project and to include Masonic sites throughout the D.C. area.
After finalizing the subject matter of my project, my next step was to choose the platform I would use to build my web resource. It just so happened that this step coincided with the presentation of Viewshare in class. Viewshare had everything I wanted and more! A map, a gallery, a sortable list—oh my! Despite my initial enthusiasm, after completing a draft of my project I became very disappointed in Viewshare. The platform was very simple and easy to use but it was also not very flexible. Overall, the webpages just didn’t look how I imagined they would. Alas, I decided to expand my project further and create an entire website. I chose to build my website by using Google Sites due to its simplicity and the ease by which I would be able to integrate other Google products into the pages. My new website, Masonic Structures in D.C., now offers a simple history of Freemasonry, a (Google custom) map of the sites, a gallery with pictures of each structure, and an individual page for each location that provides a brief history of the site.
I am very proud of what I have created; nevertheless, there are still improvements I wish to make to the site. For example, I would like to alter the appearance of the gallery and add multiple images for each of the structures, I hope to expand the information pages and include some more helpful traveling and visiting information, and perhaps also add an “F.A.Q.s” section to answer some of the common questions people ask about Freemasonry. I plan on continuing to improve my website and hopefully have it appear on the homepages of various Masonic-related organizations in D.C.
If you have any suggestions for how the site can be made better, please let me know. And if you’re looking for something a little different to do, make sure to check out Masonic Structures!