Stories on Money

Stories on Money

This exhibition invites visitors to explore the development and meaning behind American coinage and currency. “Stories on Money” demonstrates the interplay among people, money and history, from the earliest times to the present day. The main section of the exhibition, "America's Money," shows what money looked like in Colonial America and at pivotal times, including the Gold Rush, Great Depression and in the current era. Visitors will compare the coin designs of the 19th century with those produced during the renaissance of American coinage in the early 20th century. The section called “The Power of Liberty,” presents an array of coins from the United States and the world depicting Liberty, the feminine personification of freedom; coins with real and mythological women are also featured. The exhibition draws from the Museum's National Numismatic Collection, which consists of more than 1.5 million objects, including coins, medals and paper currency and preserves the role of money in economic history.

The exhibition uses objects and interactive media to immerse visitors in these stories on money, including an opportunity to view enlarged images and delve further into numismatic history. In "A penny for your thoughts?” visitors can cast their opinion about the future of the most-produced coin in the world.

This exhibition features:

  • a colonial Massachusetts shilling from 1690—the first paper money in the Western hemisphere
  • the unique 1849 $20 gold coin
  • and a clam shell used as currency during the Great Depression.