Money: A History

Please note: This gallery will be closed from March 20-April 14 for the installation of a new interactive exhibit, "America in Circulation: A History of US Currency Featuring the Collection of Mark R. Shenkman."

The everyday ordinariness of the money we carry masks a rich and tumultuous history. Ever since the Dutch settled Manhattan, currency in America has continually evolved. Our responses to the threats of war, crime and economic crisis have shaped money's design and even altered its value. Over time, the emergence of the dollar as a stable, universally recognized currency made the U.S. a global economic powerhouse, and indeed helped to unify the country itself.

This exhibit traces our country's currency from the earliest years through the latest designs and features barter currencies, gold, coins, paper money and scrip. A tactile money display allows visitors to touch historic and modern coins, and to view the security features in modern money on a light board and under an ultraviolet light. A large-scale touch screen interactive enables visitors to view the many hidden anti-counterfeiting devices incorporated into the newly-redesigned $10 bill.