March 22, 2004
For Immediate Release
SF Fed Officials and High School Seniors Preview
the Fed Center
A new exhibit combines design and whimsy
fundamentals of the U.S. Central Bank
SAN FRANCISCO, March 22, 2004— An enthusiastic group of Menlo
Atherton High School seniors joined San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank
First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer John F. Moore, and Vice
President for Public Information and Community Affairs Joy K. Hoffmann,
in previewing the SF Fed’s new eye-popping economics exhibit this
morning. The exhibit – The Fed Center: Exploring our Nation’s
Central Bank – opens to public tours by advance reservation on
April 1 and is designed to engage high school students and life-long
learners in the role the Federal Reserve plays in the economy. Thought-provoking
icons and compelling interactive exhibits invite visitors to discover
the importance of the Fed by making functions such as monetary policy,
the payments system, and banking supervision understandable and relevant
to their lives.
Moore welcomed the students and their teacher to the Bank as the first
public group to experience the new exhibit. “We want you and future
visitors to leave here with an appreciation for how and why the U.S.
central bank helps ensure a stable economy. We also want you to know
how the actions of the Federal Reserve affect your day-to-day financial
transactions and decisions. And we hope you’ll have fun as you
Students toured the Fed Center, first viewing with Hoffmann one of
the most complete collections of U.S. currency, and then stopping at
interactive icons along the way, such as a giant, free-floating sphere
representing the U.S. economy on which visitors use magnets to subtly
influence its movements. Touch-screen games nearby allow players to be
Alan Greenspan and adjust the federal funds rate, providing interesting
results depending on the different choices the players make.
Another stop along the tour included a discussion with Moore, who is
also head of the Federal Reserve System’s Cash Product Office.
In front of a virtual waterfall of electronic numbers, Moore explained
the workings of the payments system – the billions of dollars in
electronic transfers, checks, and cash that move through the Federal
Reserve every day. Interactive stations in this area invite students
to test their skills at detecting counterfeit notes and view stacks of
strapped bundles representing $3.2 million in cash.
California is one of fourteen states requiring high school students to
complete an economics course in order to graduate. Menlo Atherton High
economics teacher Ron Weiss noted, “As a teacher, I’m always
looking for fresh and interesting ways to present an economics lesson.
Whether they’re applying for a college loan or getting their first
job, it’s important for young people to understand how economic
conditions can affect the choices they make. The Fed Center certainly
provides relevant information to students in a way that’s fun and
easy to absorb.”
Other iconic modules in the Fed Center include a giant safe suspended
by cables and anchored to the wall by a combination of regulations and
market forces, and a fourteen-foot tilting chair representing the overall
economy that tips when shocks are felt, but that comes back into balance
when the Fed acts to counter the shocks, as it did on 9/11.
Located at 101 Market Street in San Francisco, the Bank offers a 90-minute
tour, which consists of a guided visit to the Fed Center as well as short
visits to the checks and cash departments. Tours are offered by advance
reservation only, Monday through Thursday at 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
Tours are available to high school and college classes, community groups,
banker groups, or other groups who wish to learn more about the Federal
Reserve, money, banking, and economics. Tour groups will include a minimum
of 10 and maximum of 30. Individuals who are interested may be assigned
to groups when space is available. The Fed Center will also be open by
24-hour advance reservation to the public on Fridays from 12 – 1:00
p.m. Space is limited to the first 30 people who call to reserve space.
request a tour reservation, call Public Information tour hot line at
(415) 974-3252 and leave a request on voicemail, or log on at http://www.frbsf.org/federalreserve/visit/tours.html and click on “request a tour.”