The Winter 2019 issue of Financial History contains an announcement from President and CEO David J. Cowen. The Museum of American Finance
has terminated its lease in lower Manhattan and is looking for a new home for MoAF. -Editor
What does the future hold for our Museum? Recall our core purpose is to preserve, exhibit and teach about our nation's finances and
financial history. So we need to preserve our amazing and unique collection of tens of thousands of artifacts that span the history of American
finance and include many of our nation's founding financial documents.
We've survived two floods in Downtown New York City: one from the outside from Super Storm Sandy, and one from the inside from the building.
They say things happen in threes, and we're not going to stick around to find out. Therefore, this year we will be raising the funds to move our
collection to a state-of-the-art archival facility that will not only safeguard and catalog, but will fully digitize all of our documents. Once our
collection is digitized, that will help us to create online exhibits that will allow us to expand our reach exponentially.
Second is to continue and expand our financial literacy programs. We have the props of history. What differentiates us is that when we teach
financial literacy and teach stocks and bonds, we actually have the certificates to show the students. In many cases, we give them one (of course
matured) as a takeaway when they finish the class. In 2019 we look to greatly expand our outreach into the New York City school system.
As far as exhibit space, we're at a critical juncture in the Museum's history, as we create a state-of-the-art finance museum. We
don't want to have museum 2.0; we want museum 10.0. We are investigating several properties here in Downtown and other parts of New York for our
permanent home. Tonight is a great step forward; with all of your generosity, we have raised over $1 million. I want to thank you from the bottom of
my heart. That is the first step.
Therefore, in 2019 we're on the cusp of creating a museum for the next generation. If we are to move this museum into the future, to best
represent our industry and help millions of Americans develop much-needed financial self-sufficiency, then we need you, our strongest supporters, to
help propel us forward. I look forward to working with you to change these dreams into reality.
MoAF already provides digital issues of Financial History to the Newman Numismatic Portal for sharing with the numismatic community and the
world; the digitization of their great collection will make much more information available to the research and collecting communities.
In another article Museum Deputy Director Kristin Aguilera added these notes about current and future MoAF programs. -Editor
The Museum of American Finance announced in December that it terminated its lease at 48 Wall Street in New York City. It had been located in the
historic bank building since 2008, and its lease was scheduled to expire in 2021.
The lease termination was prompted by a major flood that occurred on January 14, 2018, when a main water pipe burst in the building. Although all
three floors of the Museum sustained significant water damage, none of the objects on display or in the archives were damaged in any way. The
Museum's world-class collection of financial documents and artifacts, many dating from the 18th century, was immediately relocated to a climate
controlled art storage facility, where it remains safe.
Despite the Museum gallery being closed in 2018 due to the flood, nearly all of its programs proceeded as scheduled at off-site facilities. This
included more than a dozen public programs in its Lunch & Learn and Evening Lecture Series, as well as a traveling exhibit in Washington, DC,
showcasing treasures from the Museum's collection. The Museum also continued to offer guided walking tours of the Financial District and
proceeded with key components of its educational programming, including the Museum Finance Academy (MFA)-its free eight-week personal finance
program for high school juniors and seniors. Although the exhibit galleries will remain closed during the relocation, all of the Museum's other
programs will continue off site. In addition, new education programs will be added in 2019, bringing MoAF educators into New York City area
According to Museum President/CEO David Cowen, "We were looking to relocate the Museum in a few years given that our lease was expiring, so
this was a natural time to discuss moving up the timetable."
The early termination of the lease enables the Museum to explore new venue and partnership opportunities, and to re-build all of the exhibitions
from the ground up.
"Our opportunities are now openended, as we reimagine what a state-of-the- art finance museum could be," said Cowen. "I look
forward to working with our board, staff and supporters as we script this exciting future for the nation's only independent finance
Good luck to the MoAF as they take this next step into the future. -Editor
The Mark R. Shenkman exhibit of U.S. Currency at MoAF
For more information on the Museum of American Finance, see:
To read earlier E-Sylum articles, see:
JOHN E. HERZOG: FRIEND OF FINANCIAL HISTORY
THE MUSEUM OF AMERICAN FINANCE (https://www.coinbooks.org/esylum_v17n40a19.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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