Oriental Hall stands out among the diverse and sundry rooms of the Masonic Temple in Philadelphia for two reasons. First, it does not appear to fit in with the schema of the other rooms in the Temple because it draws its influence from “the Orient,” or the Islamic world. Secondly, it’s situated on the first floor of the building–something atypical in Freemasonry. In his talk, Brother Michael J. Ernst will examine the Islamic influences and symbolism in Oriental Hall within the larger context of the Masonic Temple, as part of a design plan depicting civilizations and cultures that have contributed to Speculative Freemasonry. Additionally, he will present his research on other Islamic-style Masonic buildings in Pennsylvania in order to contrast them with Oriental Hall.
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