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Masonic Regalia Chest
Maker not marked
USA: Massachusetts, Connecticut River Valley
Paint, pine
overall: 21 5/8 x 37 x 16 in.; 54.9275 x 93.98 x 40.64 cm
Museum Purchase

Masonic regalia chest; six-board lift-top; arched cut-out ends, painted dark red; butt-joint construction using square-cut nails; front board is handpainted with Masonic symbols of the Royal Arch degree, initials "J" and "B"; border shows motifs of compasses, scribed circles, demi-circles, and lunettes.

A Royal Arch chapter likely owned this chest and used it to secure regalia and valuable objects. In the 1700s and 1800s, many families kept portable valuables in locked containers to guard against loss and theft. This chest may have first been utilized in a home and then later adapted—and decorated—to reflect its use by a Masonic group. For more information, see blog post, February 24, 2015, http://nationalheritagemuseum.typepad.com/library_and_archives/2015/02/decorated-chests-in-every-variety-of-painting-for-lodges.html