This year marks the 170th anniversary of the California Gold rush! On January 24, 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, California. Though he tried to keep it quiet, word spread and soon there was a surge in immigration to California from people hoping to strike it rich. It was the most famous gold rush in American history—but, in fact, not the first.
In June 2015 Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew announced that the 10 dollar note will be redesigned to feature a historic woman, marking the first major change in the appearance of U.S. paper money in nearly a century. This landmark announcement not only stimulated an unprecedented national discussion around the design of U.S. paper money, but it also provoked an extraordinary national conversation about the significant roles that women have played in the making of the nation.
As an intern in the National Numismatic Collection, Scott St. Louis has been working on a cataloging project for a collection of coins and medals from various World's Fairs, including the pivotal New York World's Fair of 1939–40. The pieces from the New York fair illustrate a striking transition. Originally looking to the future with a theme entitled "The World of Tomorrow" in 1939, the fair changed its tune in the 1940 season, offering instead a wistful yearning for a world of "Peace and Freedom" following the advent of the Second World War in September 1939.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is transforming how its audiences will experience history beginning July 1 when it opens exhibitions, learning places and programming spaces all centered on the theme of innovation. The first floor of the museum’s West Wing will open with 45,000-square-feet featuring exhibitions that explore the history of American business, showcase “hot spots” of invention and put the spotlight on the National Numismatic Collection.
Ellen Feingold is the curator of the National Numismatic Collection andThe Value of Money. She explains why visitors will enter the gallery through an authentic vault door and what they will find behind it.
A vault door will mark the entrance to the National Museum of American History’s new Gallery of Numismatics and its inaugural exhibition, “The Value of Money.” Opening July 1, the gallery will delve into the National Numismatic Collection (NNC)—one of the Smithsonian’s oldest and most treasured collections—to uncover stories related to the origins, innovations, messages, artistry and allure of money.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History plans to transform how its audiences experience history by creating a multiplex of exhibition galleries, experiential programs and performance spaces and an education center within a 120,000-square-foot wing of its 50-year-old McKim, Mead and White designed building.
The wing’s first floor will open July 1, 2015, with the second and third floors opening in 2016 and 2017.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History has appointed Ellen Feingold as the curator of the National Numismatic Collection, effective today. Feingold is an experienced historian, curator, numismatist and educator. Most recently, she served as project curator for the Money in Africa project in the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum. In this role she conducted innovative research on the history of currency counterfeiting in the British Empire and co-curated a display on mobile money in Africa for the Citi Money Gallery.
A vault door marks the entrance to the new Gallery of Numismatics and the inaugural exhibition, The Value of Money. This exhibition delves into the National Numismatic Collection to explore the origins of money, new monetary technologies, the political and cultural messages money conveys, numismatic art and design, and the practice of collecting money. Visitors will uncover links between American history and global histories of exchange, cultural interaction, political change, and innovation.
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History today announced the completion of a second project to increase the long-term preservation of the National Numismatic Collection housed at the museum through protective coin holders. The 100 coins recently encapsulated are some of the rarest and most important world coins in the museum’s collection. The encapsulation allows greater access to coins while ensuring their protection.