A Museum Dedicated To Stocks
In recent years, I have visited many of the museums in Manhattan. I started with the largest and most popular ones, and quickly have determined that photos don’t do many of these fine works of art any justice; you need to see them up close. See works by Salvador Dali or Van Gogh at MOMA.
To get more ideas for museums, I went to the yearly CultureFest held in Battery Park City, NYC. There are many smaller museums which serve some niche interests which this festival highlights along with some performance art that is scheduled thoughout the day. It is worth a visit if you have the opportunity, Battery Park is beautiful and a great place to host a festival. It is at the CultureFest where I learned that there is a Museum of Finance (or as I like the call it, the Money Museum) located where else but on Wall Street. This is worth a visit, too, but make sure you plan other activities. It won’t fill up your day in the same way the CultureFest or MOMA would. I recently visited this museum.
Stock Markets, in the Early Days
It is at this museum that I learned about the early days of stock exchanges from a video presentation among other artifacts and displays. There was a description in this video about why stocks were owned that was memorable – two reasons were identified: Stock Price Manipulation/Speculation and Gaining Company Control/Influence. Some things never change?
Stock trading originally started outside on the street at Wall Street (makes you wonder if stock trading was down during snow). A group of brokers who sold the higher quality companies moved inside into a building creating the NYSE. This lessened the chaos as well as offered the brokers a platform to trade stock with exclusive relationships with the companies.
Featured in the exhibits is a lot of the technology used in the financial markets throughout the past. I couldn’t help thinking that even though information today is virtually instantaneous as opposed to slow moving in the past, this doesn’t mean it’s any easier to make the right financial decisions.
The Art Connection
You might not expect to find art in this museum, but it is there – art has a noteworthy part of the history of currency. We take for granted a common currency since we have a national currency printed by the Federal Reserve. As recently as 1971, US currency was not standardized by the Federal Reserve as it is today (makes me wonder – this was about the time that the gold standard was eliminated). In the past local communities or institutions printed their own currency (in fact there is no law against this even today – communities today can still print currency if they want to, and some are ). Institutions that printed currency would add art to thwart counterfeiters. Art was one of the methods used to add authenticity to the notes.
- They have a great location, in a former bank on Wall Street. It’s near the bull statue.
- They have a sofa made completely out of nickels. It’s for sale!
- Videos describe how markets work: stock, bond, commodity.
- There is a lot of money here, currency as it existed over time. Check out the 60 pound ingot from the California gold rush.
- The gift shop sells posters of the art used in currency.
- American Museum of Finance
- Another review of the AMF, by the Herald Tribune.
- Newsweek story on communities printing currency.