An E-Sylum reader forwarded this nice article about a new exhibit on money at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. -EditorWith all the troubling economic news swirling around for the last year or so, I grew curious about the Fed and its head and, although I had passed by the Federal Reserve Bank in Philadelphia many times, didn.t know much about its function or importance. When I saw that the Fed was hosting a permanent exhibit, Money in Motion, a History of Banking, Money and the Federal Reserve, it seemed like a good opportunity to educate myself.
Money in Motion, designed by DMCD Inc. of New York, incorporates innovative and elegant technology into the 16 elements of the exhibit installed to one side of the atrium of the Fed building. The free financial exhibit is suggested primarily for high school age students and adults and takes about 45 minutes to complete.
Guides are on hand to answer questions, and bid you farewell with a postcard and a small bag of shredded money, which looks a little like catnip.
Visitors can trace the changes in our national currency from the early 1600s to today. Paper money and coins from the original 13 colonies are on view, giving the viewer an idea of what things were like before our system was unified.
You.re greeted, literally, by a .Benjamin. . a $100 bill adorned with Benjamin Franklin.s face. It comes to life when Philadelphia actor and Franklin impersonator Ralph Archbold welcomes you to the exhibit. The real Benjamin Franklin had a key role in the birth of America.s paper money economy. As a young man, he helped design and print paper money authorized by the New Jersey legislature. He later invented the art of nature printing from leaf casts, via a copper plate press, for transferring a sage leaf image onto the back of paper money bills, a technique intended to thwart counterfeiters.
Other highlights of the exhibit include:
A rare $100,000 gold certificate . the highest value bank note ever printed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing . as well as a tower of dollar bills totaling $100 million and a currency cart representing $1,650,000 in $5 bills; .Supervision Mission,. which lets you take .The Bankers Challenge. and test your knowledge as you advance from trainee, to loan manager, to investment manager; .Crisis Management. walks the visitor through the Fed.s crisis management techniques. (For example, we see how the Fed kept the economy going during the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001.)
My favorite segment was .Payments 2200,. where a teller of the future interacts with the viewer, explaining the role of cash, checks, credit, debit and automatic transactions in the year 2200. The young woman, who looks a little like a futuristic Mrs. Peel from the old TV show The Avengers, first asks you to stand still so she can scan for a retina implant or identifying microchip. When this fails, she says, .Oh, you must be from the past.. When you indicate that you want to pay for your purchase . a new hovercraft . with a check, she says, .We don.t see those around too much anymore,. and suggests checks are one of those .antique. methods of payment, along with barter and cash. Indeed, I just read that checks are already going the way of the milkman and drive-in movie theater.
Money in Motion might not be a roller coaster of thrills, but anyone curious . and serious . about money, banking and the economy will find the exhibit compelling, cogent and elegantly executed.
Plus, in times when money is tight, being in a building where, on any given day, there is between $5 and $8 billion in paper money . stashed in vaults the size of a football field . fires the imagination.
Money in Motion, a History of Banking, Money and the Federal Reserve is on view at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, 100 N. 6th St., Philadelphia. Extended summer hours: Mon.-Fri. 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Sun. noon-4 p.m., through Aug. 31. Open Sept.-May, Mon.-Fri., business hours. (866) 574-3727; www.philadelphiafed.org
To read the complete article, see: We.re in the Money: Learn all about our nation.s monetary system at the Federal Reserve Bank. (http://www.packetonline.com/articles/2008/07/30/
Wayne Homren, Editor
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