Architecture & Financial Institutions
The wealth of merchants has historically been stored in temples and cathedrals from as far back as Babylonian times. The 19th century in particular saw the growth of banks and bourses which were "Cathedrals of Finance". This exhibition relates the nature of the development of the size and architecture of financial institutions to their growing role in society. Finally there is the paradox of the influence of abstract finance on the temples of finance.
Art and Literature
The relationship between art and money contains many feature of interest. There are splendid paintings of money lenders, merchants and transactions (the earliest evidence of the use of gold in trade is from Egyptian tomb paintings). Further there are many interesting relationships between art and money as abstractions (see Disfiguring. Chapter 5 by Mark Taylor). There are also the striking and amusing paintings of J.S.G. Boggs. The engraving and design of paper money and other financial instruments is a topic for a substantial display. Where specialized museums already exist, collaboration will be sought. There are several impressive collections of stock certificates in museums.
There is a body of literature such as The Pit where the theme is explicitly finance. The museum store will specialize in these.
Economics in Everyday Life
Perhaps the most important and difficult display is the role of economics in everyday life. This includes a time line and historical display of the increasing tie-in of the overall world economies as individual and national autarky has been progressively diminished. The cost of a high standard of living involves greater complexity and interrelation of all economies.
Even more important than providing the appreciation of an emerging one world economy is the ability to provide individuals an entertaining and educational introduction to the economic literacy they need to serve them in their daily activities. Education at both the level of adults and schoolchildren is called for.
Money And Financial Instruments in Society
Included will be highly abbreviated sketches of the growth of coin and paper and the institutional and legal structure accompanying them. These features are developed in more detail in the special exhibits. The treatment will be along the lines of Kindelberger's Financial History of Europe with displays relating wars, social and technological changes to economic and financial activity.
In particular the growth of technology in production together with the corporation and the means for financing the corporation must be illustrated.