Profile profile for FeingoldE

Ellen Feingold

Curator of the National Numismatic Collection

B.A., University of Wisconsin – Madison, History 
MSc., University of Oxford (St. Antony’s College), Economic and Social History
D.Phil., University of Oxford (Merton College), History

Research Specialties: 
  • The history of money and monetary objects 
  • The history of counterfeiting and forgery
  • Imperial and global history, focusing on mechanisms of colonial rule and the process of decolonization in sub-Saharan Africa
Role in Museum: 

I am the curator of the National Numismatic Collection (NNC), a global collection of approximately 1.6 million objects that span more than 3,500 years. I am also serving as team leader for a group of curators in the Division of Work and Industry working on global history topics including philanthropy and Asian Pacific American history. 



  • Curator of The Value of Money exhibition
  • Project director and curator of Women on Moneya display inspired by the U.S. Treasury's plans to redesign U.S. banknotes to feature historic American women

Collecting and Digitization Initiatives:

Selected Publications: 


Feingold, Ellen R. The Value of Money. Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2015.

Feingold, Ellen R. Colonial Justice and Decolonization in the High Court of Tanzania, 1920-1971. Palgrave Macmillan (Cambridge Imperial and Post-colonial Studies Series), 2018. 

Feingold, Ellen R. "International Currency Counterfeiting Schemes in Interwar West Africa." Journal of West African History 3, no. 1 (2017): 77-101. 
Feingold, Ellen R. "Popularizing Money: Farran Zerbe and the Chase Manhattan Money Collection." (in progress) 
Feingold, Ellen R. "How the Redesign of U.S. Money Shows the Power of Protest." Smithsonian Magazine, 2016. 
Awards, Honors, and Special Recognition: 

As a student at the University of Oxford, Dr. Feingold held the Clarendon Scholarship, John Roberts Scholarship, Beit Research Scholarship, and Designated Research Studentship in Modern History. She received numerous grants in support of her doctoral research on the development and decolonization of the High Court of Tanzania. She was also awarded a special prize from the Robert Herbert Memorial Fund for her research on the history of the British Colonial Legal Service. After completing her doctorate, Feingold joined the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum as a Project Curator for the Money in Africa project. She was a co-curator of a display on mobile money in Africa in the Citi Money Gallery in 2013.

Professional Affiliations: 


  • African Studies Program, Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University
  • American Historical Association
  • Popular Culture Association