About the exhibit:
Currency Theatre and Museum
Visitors enter here for an introductory presentation, and to view the most extensive
public collection of rare and valuable antique currency in the United States.
This collection includes engraved notes by Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere,
along with the celebrated Grand Watermelon Note of 1890—prized by collectors
and worth more than a million dollars in the collectors’ market. A multi-media
show surrounds the audience on three sides and introduces them to the Fed. The
video puts the currency collection in perspective with the full exhibit, presents
the artifacts, and explains their relationship to the history of the U.S. financial
A Fourteen-Foot-Tall Tipping Chair
In times of crisis, how does the Fed act to stabilize the nation’s
financial system and maintain liquidity? A fourteen-foot chair
that tips as you approach provides the conceptual context for
maintaining stability in times of uncertainty. In a real-life
example, a nearby video narrates how the Federal Reserve responded
to events following 9-11 to calm the financial markets.
Giant Free-Floating Sphere
How does the Federal Reserve influence the nation’s financial system to
promote a healthy economy? Setting monetary policy is one of the Fed’s
most important and visible roles because its decisions have the potential to
affect our nation’s economy. The goals of monetary policy are twofold:
maximum sustainable employment and price stability. Visitors can affect the movement
of the giant free-floating economy ball to learn how the subtle influences of
the Federal Reserve ensure that the economy runs smoothly. Images of visitors
are projected on the sphere. Nearby touch screen computer games test visitors’ savvy
on price stability and let them play the role of the Federal Open Market Committee
(FOMC) Chairman by using interest rates to affect inflation.
Giant Suspended Safe
A sound banking system is a key component of a healthy economy.
Visitors view a suspended safe illustrating, with cables and
weights, the many forces at work to support and regulate financial
institutions. A nearby visitor station features case histories
on community investment and fair lending that illustrate banks’ roles
in community revitalization. Visitors can test their skills
as bank examiners using a “pachinko”-style game
to determine the relative risk or safety and soundness of banks.
A Virtual Waterfall
Every day, billions of dollars in cash, checks, and wire transfers
pass through the Federal Reserve Banks. At a glass-screen virtual
waterfall, visitors see an approximation of the high-speed
transactions that keep the economy moving. When visitors touch
the glass, the waterfall of scrolling numbers parts to reveal
various facts about the payments system.