The Story of Money

Photo of a ring case in the museum display

A highlight of the Monetary Museum is the story of money as told through an exhibit of artifacts, coins, and currency notes in sixteen display cases.

With gold nuggets and wampum and much more, you can trace the evolution of money from barter to modern currency along with the story of banking and money in America right up to the founding of the Federal Reserve System in 1913. Take a look at the unusual objects, rare coins, and beautifully detailed currency notes in our outstanding collection.

Just click on the sections below to learn the fascinating story of money.

01: Before Money, Barter
02: Common Products as Money
03: Value in use, value in exchange
04: Money simplifies trade
05: Money takes many shapes
06: Early coins
07: Paper money
08: Banking evolves
09: Commerce in the colonies
10: Early American money
11: After the Revolution
12: U.S. banks and money
13: The Civil War era
14: Progress and problems
15: The Fed and afterwards
16: Price stability: Goal of the Fed