Museum of American Finance
|Museum of American Finance|
Looking northeast from Wall Street toward the museum.
|Established||1988 (as the Museum of American Financial History)|
|Location||48 Wall Street
New York City, New York, United States
|Type||Finance museum; Smithsonian Institution affiliate|
The Museum of American Finance is the nation’s only independent public museum dedicated to preserving, exhibiting and teaching about American finance and financial history. Located in the Financial District of the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, it as an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
The museum was founded in 1988 as the Museum of American Financial History but was renamed the Museum of American Finance in 2005. Until December 2006, it was located in the Standard Oil Building at 26 Broadway. On January 11, 2008, the Museum opened in a new location at 48 Wall Street, the former headquarters of The Bank of New York.
The Museum is a tax-exempt 501(c) 3 organization chartered by the Board of Regents of the New York State Department of Education. With education at the core of its mission, it is an active national-level advocate on behalf of financial literacy.
In 2010, the Museum founded its Center for Financial Education, which offers classroom programs for students in grades kindergarten through masters of business administration (MBA) in addition to its tour programs. In 2011, it launched the Museum Finance Academy (MFA), an eight-week after school personal finance program open to high school juniors and seniors. In 2011-2013, the Museum partnered with Junior Achievement to offer its “Finance Park” program within the Center for Financial Education.
Collections and Exhibitions
As part of its mission to document US financial history, the Museum actively collects documents and artifacts related to the financial markets, money and banking. Its world-class collection includes more than 10,000 stocks, bonds, prints, engravings, photographs, bank notes, checks and books.
Permanent exhibitions focus on the financial markets, money, banking, entrepreneurship and Alexander Hamilton. Recent temporary exhibitions include “Barings in America: An Interactive Investment Experience” (December 2012 – April 2013), “Checks & Balances: Presidents and American Finance” (November 2011 – March 2013), “Tracking the Credit Crisis” (ongoing since 2009); “Andrew Carnegie: Forging Philanthropy” (April – October 2012); “Alexander Hamilton: Lineage and Legacy” (April 2011-March 2012); “Scandal! Financial Crime Chicanery and Corruption That Rocked America” (2010–11) and “Women of Wall Street” (2009–10).
Programs and Events
Prominent speakers from across the financial industry participate in the Museum’s Financial History and Practices Lecture/Symposia Series, with subject matter ranging from discussions of current financial practices to observations on significant events and individuals in America’s financial history. Speakers have included John Bogle, Sallie Krawcheck, David Walker, Abby Joseph Cohen, Henry Kaufman, Niall Ferguson and Neil Barofsky.
Other programs include the Lunch and Learn Series, which features talks, demonstrations and presentations during lunchtime, as well as walking tours and film screenings. The Museum’s annual gala honors an individual with the Whitehead Award for Distinguished Public Service and Financial Leadership, which is named after former Deputy Secretary of State and co-chair of Goldman Sachs John C. Whitehead. Honorees have included Paul Volcker, Pete Peterson, William Donaldson, Felix Rohatyn and William Harrison, Jr.
The Museum also regularly publishes on subjects pertaining to the history of finance. Its quarterly magazine, Financial History, reaches members in 50 states and 20 foreign countries. The magazine publishes vetted articles by financial historians and journalists on historically significant events and individuals and other related topics in the world of finance. In 2011, the Museum commemorated the 100th issue of Financial History with a full-color double edition. The Museum also publishes books and catalogs including, most recently, The Revolutionary Beginning of the American Stock Market, which features many of the documents in the “America’s First IPO” exhibit.
In 1987, John E. Herzog, then CEO of Herzog Heine Geduld, Inc., established the Museum in response to the stock market crash of that year. He provided the bulk of the institution's early leadership and is now chairman and trustee emeritus. The Museum's intellectual leadership is currently provided by eminent financial historians, including board trustee Niall Ferguson, Chairman of the Board Richard E. Sylla, President and CEO David Cowen, and Financial History magazine editorial board member Robert E. Wright.
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- Katie Petito, "Museum of American Finance: New Name, New Location," http://www.dndco.com/images/Museum_1.pdf
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- Nathaniel Popper, "At Wall Street Museum, Financial Crisis Staged a Takeover," Los Angeles Times (29 October 2010). http://articles.latimes.com/2010/oct/29/business/la-fi-finance-museum-20101029
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