The Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago serves as a visitor’s center for those guests interested in learning more about the role the Federal Reserve Bank system plays in shaping the United States’ economy. Home to an assortment of interactive displays and games pertaining to currency and economic policy, the Money Museum is perfect for school-age children. The Money Museum also occasionally sponsors or hosts temporary exhibits exploring similar economics-related topics.
Money Museum History and Background Information
America’s Federal Reserve system (often known to many as simply “the Fed”) was established in 1913 for the purpose of providing centralized control of the United States’ monetary policy. The hope was that this sort of central banking authority would lead to a more stable, less crisis-prone financial sector. To this day the Federal Reserve is a crucial financial actor that influences multiple components of the nation’s economy, including employment figures, price stability, and long-term interest rates.
The Federal Reserve system consists of 12 different Federal Reserve banks, one of which is located in Chicago. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is responsible for member banks found in its jurisdiction, which includes all of Iowa and Michigan, as well as a significant swath of Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana. The Money Museum has been established within the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago as an engaging introduction—especially suitable for kids—to the important financial work being undertaken by the Fed on a daily basis.
What’s at the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank
One of the really neat things about the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is that entry here is completely free. Visitors to the Money Museum are encouraged to enjoy a self-guided tour through the space that typically takes guests approximately 45 minutes to complete. Exhibits here include rare coins, historical displays recounting the development of currency in America, interactive games that let you pretend you’re on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Board of Directors, and more. The Money Museum also periodically hosts a variety of temporary special exhibits.
If you’re interested in even more detail about the materials on display at the Money Museum, each day there is a single guided tour provided. This special presentation occurs each day at 1:00pm, and lasts roughly 30 minutes. It includes a brief lecture about the purpose of the United States’ Federal Reserve Bank system, a short video on the duties of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago branch, and a question-and-answer session with a Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago official.
All food and drink is strictly prohibited within the Money Museum, and there are no dining options on site. However, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is located squarely in the heart of Chicago’s iconic Loop neighborhood—meaning that you’ll find all manner of restaurants, cafés, and bars within the immediate vicinity of the Money Museum. With Union Station just three blocks to the west, and Michigan Avenue only five blocks to the east, you’ll be spoiled for options!
Tips for Visiting the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank
- The Money Museum is open every Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30am and 5:00pm.
- Given its location within the Federal Reserve of Chicago, all visitors to the Money Museum will be subjected to extensive security screening. You’ll want to make certain to check their website in advance of your visit for a full list of prohibited items.
- There is also an ID requirement for visitors to the Money Museum. Per their house regulations, all visitors to the Money Museum must display a government-issued photo identification card to enter the facility.
- While reservations are not needed to partake in the 1:00pm daily guided visit, it’s still a good idea to show up plenty early if you are interested in going on this special tour. Getting through security here can sometimes take quite a while, and if it is an especially busy day at the Museum, you don’t want to miss your one chance to go on that particular day’s only guided tour.