Atlanta Fed Monetary Museum Adds Interactive Exhibits

Adding more interactivity and tools to advance financial literacy, the Atlanta Fed Monetary Museum is introducing two new exhibits in January. "We don't often add major exhibits, so this is a real milestone for the Monetary Museum as well as the Bank," said Gary Tapp, museum director.

Every year, many Georgia teachers—and even some from as far away as Tennessee and Alabama—bring their classes to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's Monetary Museum. These teachers use the museum field trip in ways that range from introducing elementary or middle school students to money to supplementing a unit on banking and the Federal Reserve for high school students. "Interactivity is critical to engage museum goers, and we are always looking for new ways to educate people about finances and the economy," Tapp said. "We hope we've accomplished both those aims with these exhibits."

One of the exhibits, called "Street Smarts," is an interactive quiz on financial literacy and on the Federal Reserve. Museum visitors first watch a video in which average people answer questions such as: Who is the current chairman of the Fed? What happens when there is too much money in circulation? And how do higher interest rates affect a monthly loan payment? With the clock ticking, visitors then get the opportunity to answer these same questions. At the end of the quiz, they get a score based on their speed and accuracy.

The other new exhibit—"Go with the Flow"—also aims to enhance visitors' financial and economic literacy. This game uses sophisticated graphics to illustrate the circulation of money through the economy and demonstrates the interconnectedness of consumers, businesses, and the banking system. When visitors choose to play the role of a consumer, they are given a set income and presented with a series of investment, purchasing, and saving choices. The player-as-consumer chooses how to spend money on entertainment, utility bills, mortgage payments, and appliances. The player tries to increase his or her net worth by 5 percent by investing and spending wisely. Visitors can also choose to play the role of a small business or a bank. In these roles, they face choices similar to the consumer's, about spending, borrowing, hiring, and lending.

You can request a tour, get information about other exhibits, and even take a virtual tour of the entire Monetary Museum on the Atlanta Fed website.

By Charles Davidson, staff writer
January 30, 2013