CHICAGO, November 8, 2017 — The popularity of the Broadway musical HAMILTON has inspired a new exhibit about Alexander Hamilton at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s Money Museum. Among his many achievements, Hamilton contributed to the creation of America’s first central bank, the forerunner to the nation’s current Federal Reserve system. The bank was a vital part of a national financial infrastructure that Hamilton created, which became the model for today’s economy based on a stable currency and access to credit.
The exhibit displays numerous examples of historical currency featuring Hamilton, including the first $5 note ever issued by the United States government, a rare $2 bill, and $1,000 gold certificates. It also details Hamilton’s struggle with other Founding Fathers to establish a strong financial foundation for the young country. In 1791, he championed creation of the Bank of the United States, an early attempt at central banking.
Hamilton’s legacy is portrayed in the musical HAMILTON by Lin-Manuel Miranda, which is currently playing in Chicago at the CIBC Theatre.
“Given the musical’s popularity, a lot of our museum visitors ask questions about Hamilton,” said Jessa Wolfe, Public Affairs Representative for the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. “We think we have a unique opportunity to inform visitors about the important role Hamilton had in the economic development of our country and the evolution of its central bank.”
The Money Museum features historic currency, interactive games, and many other exhibits about the roles and responsibilities of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Federal Reserve System. It is open to the public and is visited frequently by school and business groups. To schedule a guided visit for your group, go to https://www.chicagofed.org/applications/money_museum_tour/login.htm.
The free museum is located on the bank’s first floor at 230 S. LaSalle Street in downtown Chicago and is open weekdays from 8:30 am to 5 pm.
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Background
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks that, along with the Board of Governors in Washington, D.C., make up the nation’s central bank. The Chicago Reserve Bank serves the seventh Federal Reserve District, which encompasses the northern portions of Illinois and Indiana, southern Wisconsin, the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, and the state of Iowa. In addition to participation in the formulation of monetary policy, each Reserve Bank supervises member banks and bank holding companies, provides financial services to depository institutions and the U.S. government, and monitors economic conditions in its District.
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