“…your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls Restorer of Streets and Dwellings…”
The Five Year Plan
the five year plan for the Franklin History Center will truly transform the Masonic Hall–and Franklin. This bold statement stems from our approach to every aspect of this project, including how we restore and rehabilitate the Hall, interpret Franklin’s stories, and use the site to tell a multi-cultural, multi-dimensional story of the American experience in Franklin, Tennessee.
Nearly 220 years removed from the creation of Franklin, we are rekindling the spirit of the visionaries who sparked not only the birth of a new nation, but also a new city and state. Our plan go beyond the scope of simply restoring the Masonic Hall in the convention sense. Instead, we are broadening our lens to re-envision the entire property, restoring and rehabilitating the 19th century Hall and constructing a new, separate visitor’s center. Connection these two pieces, old and new, will allow us to bond American history to the ongoing American story.
Throughout the site’s transformation, innovative programming and educational opportunities will be offered continuously, ensuring that people of all ages and from all walks of life can benefit from the valuable and unique resources and experiences offered by the Franklin History Center. Through individual and collective exhibits, visitors will engage with a combination of powerful imagery, compelling historical objects, and authentic storytelling that will help them discover their own connection to the American story. We hope visitors will leave empowered and inspired to join ongoing conversations about America’s ongoing story in their own communities, uniting the past to the present and future in a relevant and impactful way.
Nearly 200 years removed from the laying of the first foundational stone, the Historic Franklin Masonic Hall is charting a new course of discovery – witnessing its own transformation. Our plan is to not to simply reconstruct a local historic site – conventional “historic site museum” is not our goal. Building upon visionary ideals and innovation, visitors will experience state-of-the-art preservation technology and scholarship. Detailed research, conservation and interpretation, will allow visitors to personally connect to the past, present, and future in relevant, bold ways.
During each phase of the Hall’s restoration, innovative educational programming will inspire the visitor experience to the Historic Franklin Masonic Hall for people of all ages, from all walks of life – providing recurring opportunities to reconnect more than once with the Hall and grounds.
Preservation, interpretation and innovation – the Hall’s centerpieces- will connect its history and architecture to its legacies and current events, encompassing an all-inclusive experience at the Historic Franklin Masonic Hall.
Saving The Structure
Stabilization of the West (front) wall.
Design and Implement
Installation of new exterior drainage and design lighting.
Showcase periods of historic significance, demonstrating a holistic approach and application to best practices in preservation.
The majority of the interior work will take place during Phase II. However, the creation of a dynamic and engaging visitor experience will occur through specialized tours, with a hands on exploration of history through preservation and architecture.
Aspects of the work will include
- Conservation of the entire third floor hall and York Rite Masonic Ceremonial Room
- Public access to the third floor, stabilization of stairwell
- Installation of new lighting design and upgraded utilities to support new mechanical systems, including climate control, HVAC, fire suppression and security systems.
Leading the Historic Franklin Masonic Hall project is the architectural firm of Belinda Stewart Architects, PA from Eupora, Mississippi. Their commitment to preservation, local communities and sustainability makes their partnership to the Hall project mutually beneficial.
Ms. Stewart’s firm has won numerous awards for their work on historic buildings including the 2016 Mississippi Heritage Trust Award for Excellence, the 2016 Mississippi Heritage Trust Award for Preservation, and the 2016 Mississippi Heritage Trust and Mississippi African American Historic Preservation Council Award for Excellence in African American Preservation.
Belinda J. Stewart, FAIA
Principle of Belinda Stewart Architects