New Orleans Museum of Trade, Finance, and the Fed: Exhibits

Welcome to the Museum of Trade, Finance, and the Fed in the New Orleans Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Here, you can explore how finance grew from trade, how New Orleans evolved into a bustling port and financial center, and how the institutions, instruments, and people made it all possible.

Introductory Video

Surrounded by a $1 silver certificate backdrop, the video sets the scene of New Orleans as a mingling of cultures and commodities, a place where people come together to trade. While the flow of goods through the port is visible, the currents of finance are unseen, except through the institutions and people who pilot them. Even in the earliest civilizations, major trade centers led to banking centers and financial innovation.


Show Me the Money

A Citizens Bank of Louisiana dix note drapes this exhibit that tells all about money throughout the history of New Orleans. Explore the evolution of money as it shifts from fur pelts, Spanish silver, and French playing cards to the Federal Reserve notes we carry in our wallets today. You can see some of the actual money that circulated in New Orleans.


Institutions, Instruments, and Financiers of Trade

With increased trade came the increased need for financial infrastructure. Learn about the institutions that arose from financial necessity, such as banks, exchanges, mints, and central banks, as well as the people who influenced these institutions. View the timeline to learn more about New Orleans financial history.


The Importance of Imagery

What and who appear on money matters. Images on money are chosen to represent certain ideas so that people using it trust in its value. See images of famous people, historic scenes, and symbols that have appeared through time on U.S. money. Create your own banknote with your photograph, upload images of what you want to represent on your note, and then e-mail the note to yourself.


The Federal Reserve

How does the Federal Reserve support the U.S. economy's financial infrastructure? Why was the Fed created, and what purposes does it serve? At the museum, discover the answers to these questions and then play the quiz game to find out how much you learned about the Fed and New Orleans financial history. How do you rank? Are you a central banker or counterfeiter? A river boat pilot or deckhand?