Buckley museum houses Odd Fellows’ statewide collection

The new museum has been planned for the last five years, opening just last August for people who enjoy the mysteries of fraternal organizations.

Tody Hanson, grand master of Washington’s Odd Fellows and a member of the Buckley lodge, shows one of the displays in the local museum. Most of the items are from lodges that have disbanded, like the banner from tiny Dixie, Washington. PHOTOS BY KEVIN HANSON

Tody Hanson, grand master of Washington’s Odd Fellows and a member of the Buckley lodge, shows one of the displays in the local museum. Most of the items are from lodges that have disbanded, like the banner from tiny Dixie, Washington. PHOTOS BY KEVIN HANSON

Ornate robes, ceremonial swords and ominous masks fill a cozy space just off Buckley’s Main Street.

An eclectic collection of Odd Fellows memorabilia, culled from collections throughout the state of Washington, is on permanent display at the museum at 116 Cedar St. Items lining the shelves and covering the walls trace the Evergreen State history of the fraternal organization.

The museum is not just for Odd Fellows members — the public is encouraged to come check out the photos, ribbons and so much more.

The museum is the Odd Fellows’ way of opening their organization to the public and embracing more than a bit of history.

The Buckley museum, which was five years in the planning stages and has been open since August, houses the Odd Fellows collection for the entire state. The organization’s museum was previously housed in Walla Walla but needed a new home once that lodge in southeastern Washington disbanded.

The Buckley lodge owns its downtown building, had available space and, most important, had the drive to make something happen. The result, officially known as the Odd Fellows and Rebekah History Museum, is now on display from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Promoting the links of friendship, love and truth, Odd Fellows is an international fraternity of lodges with a long history. It shares certain things in common with other groups – signs, passwords and secret handshakes – and, like nearly all fraternal organizations, membership has dwindled in recent decades.

Buckley has remained something of a stronghold, however. Currently, Toby Hanson of the local lodge serves as grand master for the Grand Lodge of Washington, putting him atop the statewide organization. Going back just a bit, Hanson proudly points out that Buckley’s Art Craig ascended to becoming the Odd Fellows international leader.

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