A new exhibit is set to delve into the mystery of secret societies.

The Old Depot Museum is welcoming its newest exhibit “Secret Societies: The Search for Security, Knowledge and Fellowship in Ottawa and Franklin County” 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the museum, 135 W. Tecumseh St., Ottawa. Admission to the exhibit’s grand opening Sunday is free, according to a museum news release.

The exhibit is set to tell the story of the county’s secret societies and their impact on the county itself, the release said.

“In the late 1800s, families understood the perils of daily living,” the release said. “An illness or an accident could be deadly, leaving widows and widowers without the means to bury their spouses. Commercial life insurance policies for individuals and social security did not yet exist. Instead, people turned to secret societies like the International Order of Odd Fellows, the Modern Woodman of America, the Royal Neighbors, and the Ancient Order of United Workmen, which offered burial benefits.”

The exhibit will also explore the Danites, the Turnverein, also known as the Turners, the Grand Army of the Republic and the National Grange of the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry among many others, according to the release.

“Although these secret societies varied greatly in purpose, the core of their existence was based in fellowship, security, and the search for knowledge,” the release said. “Local chapters regularly hosted presenters on a variety of topics, giving members who might have minimal formal education an opportunity to learn.”

In addition to the narration of these organizations, the exhibit will also showcase the pins, hats, medals, stoles, canes and other items that were important to these secret societies, the release said.

On display through Nov. 14, the museum also hopes to announce several events, in conjunction with the exhibit, at a later date, the release said.

For more information, contact the museum at (785) 242-1250.

?Kate Shelton is a Herald staff writer. Email her at kshelton@ottawaherald.com Follow her on Twitter at @kshelton323