East Kent Provincial News 2014

A Volunteer's Tale

A Museum Volunteer’s Experience

Colin Horton


WBro Colin Horton is one of the many valued volunteers who helps at the Kent Museum of Freemasonry in Canterbury. Here is what he said after a recent encounter with some visitors from Japan:

“The door opened slowly. Through its glass I saw a lady accompanied by two gentlemen. Hesitating in the museum entrance, the lady’s head appeared around the door, pale-faced and obviously nervous.

‘Sorry, are we allowed in here?’ she said to me as I walked to the door. ‘Of course, welcome to our Museum’ I responded. Visibly relaxing and closely followed by her son and husband, our Japanese visitors listened carefully as I explained how to get the most from the information and artefacts on display. And what a delight they turned out to be!

Over the next hour they read all they could, mainly avoiding the technology, and were clearly impressed by the colours, the context and depth of explanation and quality of the exhibits.

Discreetly remaining on hand to field questions, I was able to help their understanding and they in turn told me of how what underpins Freemasonry is very much akin to the ethics of ancient Japanese culture of which, to my shame, I am still quite ignorant.

Meeting folk from different cultures is one reward which I had simply not anticipated when first attending as a ‘meet and greet’ volunteer. I have also had the pleasure of meeting Norwegians, Germans, Dutch, French, Americans, Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders learning, as I did, something of how Freemasonry is fairing in those countries.

I can thoroughly recommend being a volunteer for this reason alone but I must add that arranging a ‘boys breakfast’ in a favourite cafe for Brethren from my Lodge – Allington No 7086 at Tovil - followed by a visit to the museum, en masse for the benefit of our new Masons, to receive an excellent briefing from WBro Tony Periton, was great fun. We will do it again.

The Kent Museum of Freemasonry is without doubt a wonderful asset to Freemasonry in Kent and beyond – visitors confirm it most days I help there. See you there?”

The Kent Museum of Freemasonry depends entirely on volunteers to keep it open seven days a week all year round, except religious holidays. Helping there is a very rewarding experience and more volunteers would be warmly welcomed. Please click here to contact the museum.