>I love one-room museums, especially ones with attendant gift shops that are approximately the same size as the museum itself. The Museum of American Financial History does not disappoint on this measure. The museum itself is one room, roughly divided in half to accommodate temporary exhibits and their permanent collection. At the time of my visit, the temporary exhibit was on migrant farm labor from the immigrants’ perspectives, which was extremely odd for a museum that celebrates the glories of exploitative capitalism. (A mea culpa, perhaps?) There was also some contemporary artist’s “currency art” proudly on display.
The permanent exhibit includes a plate for printing bank notes and securities, a ticker tape machine that prints personal messages for visitors, and “seats” on the trading floor of the stock exchange. Other neat items: an original ticker tape from Oct. 29, 1929 saved by a broker in Boston, and the last “emergency cash” check signed by a President. (In the days before ATMs, presidents would bring these along on their travels.) The entrance to the museum includes a re-created trading room of a brokerage from the 1960s, including a dartboard with sections reading “Bankruptcy – Lose turn and all $” or “Price is up 20 points.” I was quite disappointed to find that the poorly scaled model person pictured in the room on the museum’s brochure is no longer there. (Maybe he hit the bankruptcy section and jumped ship, a long tradition on the Street.)