Beyond Fraternity: Charitable and Community Organizations in Waterbury

Alongside Mystery & Benevolence, this exhibition explores the history of fraternal organizations in Waterbury through objects, photographs, and books drawn from the Museum's permanent collection and loaned by community members. 

More about this exhibition

The exhibition Mystery & Benevolence explores the history of fraternal organizations, secretive groups that perform charity work and form deep bonds that have intrigued non-members for centuries. Waterbury has a long history of such societies – the first official Masonic Temple was built on the Green in 1912 and occupied by Masons for seventy years before becoming home to the Mattatuck Museum. Beyond the Freemasons, many other organizations make their home in the city. But are all of these organizations strictly fraternal? What else do they mean to their members? This exhibition tells the story of Freemasons in Waterbury in the past and present, but also uncovers a lesser-known history of similar organizations that were inclusive of women and people of color. Objects, photographs, and books are paired with audio clips from the Museum’s Oral History collection and interviews with community members to demonstrate the history of these societies in Waterbury.
Organizations Include:
Order of the Eastern Star
Independent Order of Odd Fellows
Daughters of Rebekah
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
If you are part of a Waterbury fraternal organization that would like to be included in this exhibition, please contact Natalie DeQuarto at or (203) 753-0381, ext. 113.