There are many fine numismatic collections in museums, several have been noted elsewhere.. The International Monetary Fund has an excellent display of current fiat. There is no deep educational or artistic need to compete with the many other fine collections (such as that of the Smithsonian). What is needed is a reasonably broad collection with prime emphasis on societal, historical and economic context rather than numismatic detail and rarity.
Land, Gold and Precious Metals
The history of land, gold and other precious metals merits separate treatment as a central exhibit in human use of stores of value. The economic legal history of the public and private appropriation of land together with the accounting conventions for the "infinitely lived nondepreciable asset" must be covered. The history of gold first as a barter means of payment then as formal coinage over the sweep of 3-4,000 years must be covered. Why metals? What other metals have been used? Silver, Platinum, Copper, Aluminum and alloys have appeared as coinage. The history and the reasons for the many physical properties of coinage (many of which are described by Jevons) must be displayed.
Displays on the technology and costs of producing money must be included as well as the nature of seignorage.
Production, Skills and Human Capital
The biological and economic concepts of competition, production and reproduction raise many important fundamental questions concerning motivation and survival. Humans from one point of view are a resource in the production process like coal or any other input. But from another point of view they have been highly differentiated in their economic treatment. Since the abolition of slavery and serfdom individuals are not for sale even though their services may be for sale.
The rate of interest is intimately related to both population growth and intergenerational concern. The higher the concern, the lower the interest. The exhibition will treat the history of slavery, serfdom and labor through the evolution of wage markets. The concepts of physical capital and human capital and the age and reproduction structure of both will be illustrated.
The various concepts of "survival of the fittest " including an examination of the ability of mankind to influence as well as just adjust to its environment. The thinking from Malthus on to the current sociobiologists and game theory applications to biology will be illustrated. The close relationship between a dynamic and evolving economy and the basic aspects of biology have been seen for many years, but recently the connection between the central problem of the intergenerational transfer of resources in all species has been recognized as simultaneously a central problem in biology and economics.