At Wall Street Museum, Financial Crisis Staged a Takeover

October 29, 2010

By Nathaniel Popper, Los Angeles Times

The little museum on Wall Street did not know what it was in for when it decided to tackle the financial crisis.

It began in a neglected corner of the institution's marbled grand hallway. Once home to the historic Bank of New York, the space was converted to hold exhibitions about Alexander Hamilton, futures trading and the history of the Dow Jones industrial average.

After Wall Street was shaken to within an inch of its life in 2008, the curators of the Museum of American Finance decided to add a section explaining what happened. The modest display featured panels depicting the greed and blunders leading up to the government's $700-billion bailout of the financial industry.

That was in March 2009, just after the government took a controlling stake in Citigroup. But the controversies kept coming — General Motors and Chrysler went bankrupt, the leaders of the Galleon Group hedge fund were arrested, Greece almost went broke — and so new panels were added to keep up...

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