After a hiatus, the Federal Reserve Bank’s Money Museum reopens on Monday, July 18 (photos)




CLEVELAND, Ohio — Money doesn’t buy happiness, but at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, it can educate you.

The interactive and informative all-ages learning center and the Money Museum, which have been closed since coronavirus pandemic restrictions came into effect in 2020, are reopening their age-friendly exhibits on Monday July 18. It really is a clever mashup of American history and accessible economics.

The museum, which attracts 10,000 to 12,000 visitors a year, is popular with families, summer campers and walk-in visitors, especially foreigners strolling downtown.

When restrictions hit, the bank ramped up its virtual programming, education outreach manager Khaz Finley said.

“Virtual spaces have allowed us to reach a wider audience,” he said. Visitors can scan a QR code and the resulting app acts as an individual guide for getting around the museum.

This is a fun museum well worth visiting to learn more about coinage. A video provides an overview of the bank vault, which is closed to the public.

A timeline of the history of the Federal Reserve, a breakdown of what the codes mean on a bill, and other educational features are featured.

And, of course, the bank’s famous money tree with matching bills hanging from its branches is a hit with the kids, as is a giant dollar bill with George Washington’s face cut out – a photo opportunity for visitors. It sits beneath typographic illustrations depicting printed synonyms for money – shinplaster to sawbuck and more.

Money is moving more than you might think, and the museum stays up to date, offering synopses on digital currency (“We didn’t want to go overboard,” Finley said) and cybercurrency. The previous update of the museum was done in 2017.

The building updated in 1923 is a fortress: part of the exhibits will show how the building is protected, originally with gun turrets and now with bulletproof glass and other modern security measures. Equipment such as gas masks and old-fashioned batons are also featured.

“The safest building in town,” Finley said.

Bank officials have a good relationship with the schools, he said. Two levels of educational classroom spaces have been renovated and are technologically up to date. New flooring, light fixtures, carpets, video screens and more have been installed.

And, as Covid rises and falls, safety measures are in place.

“We are asking customers to wear masks to keep our essential workers safe as we need to keep money flowing in our district,” Finley said. “We don’t want to prevent that.”

If you are going to: Learning Center and Money Museum

Where: 1455 E. 6th St., Cleveland. It is between E. 6th and E. 9th streets along Superior Avenue.

Visits: Free tours last approximately one hour and are offered from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday. Arrival at 2 p.m. at the latest. Note: Tours are especially popular when big events are happening downtown: Guardians games, Browns home games on Thursday nights, and days when the nearby Cleveland Public Library hosts events.

What there is to know: Masks are mandatory. Group sizes will initially be limited to six or less.

Also: An ADA-compliant sensory, sound and light room is offered for busy children.

Did you know: The Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank destroyed $4.2 billion in used currency every year.

More information: American Currency Education Program.

I am on cleveland.comfrom the Life and Culture team and covers topics related to food, beer, wine and sport. If you want to see my stories, here is a directory on cleveland.com. Bill Wills of WTAM-1100 and I usually talk food and drink at 8:20 a.m. Thursday morning. Twitter: @mbona30.

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