The exhibition under the patronage of the Grand National Mother Lodge "Zu den drei Weltkugeln" zu Berlin is dedicated to Freemasonry in the royal seat of Gotha during the reign of Ernst II of Saxony-Gotha-Altenburg. The enlightened duke had been a member of the Gotha Masonic Lodge "Zum Rautenkranz" since 1774, and from 1775 to 1777 he was the Provincial Grand Master of the Great Provincial Lodge of Germany. The Illuminati Order also had a focal point in Gotha. Ernst II supported the secret lodge leadership by the Gotha-based Illuminati Order since 1782, which he joined in 1783. The founder of the order, Adam Weishaupt, found refuge in Gotha after fleeing Bavaria in 1785.
The presentation, which gathers a large number of original objects from the cosmos of Freemasonry, also provides information about who the members of the Masonic Lodge were and how the secret societies functioned and worked socially according to the latest research findings. The last Gotha lodge, which existed until 1935, also belonged to the mother lodge "Zu den drei Weltkugeln".
Freemasonry in Thuringia was founded as early as 1741 by the Great National Mother Lodge "Zu den drei Weltkugeln" from Berlin in the Duchy of Saxony-Gotha-Altenburg. The place of the first masonic work was Molsdorf Castle under the Imperial Count Gustav Adolf von Gotter. An introductory section of the exhibition provides insights into this early significant phase.
A look at the private Masonic library of Ernst II reveals a great personal interest in the mysteries of Egypt. Supposedly the oldest and most perfect mystery culture, Ancient Egypt was considered by 18th century Freemasons to be the epitome of symbolic expression and secret cults. A special exhibition area is dedicated to this spiritual enthusiasm for Egypt, which left its traces in Gotha.
A supporting programme is also planned for the exhibition – further information will follow.