United States Mint and Smithsonian Institution Announce Plans for Traveling Numismatic Exhibition

August 5, 2009

LOS ANGELES — The United States Mint announced today that it is working with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to develop a traveling numismatic exhibition. United States Mint Director Ed Moy and Brent Glass, director of the museum, discussed plans for the exhibition during a press conference at the American Numismatic Association’s World’s Fair of Money® in Los Angeles.

“We are excited about this new endeavor and believe that many Americans would be educated and inspired by such a traveling exhibition,” Director Moy said.

“The partnership with the United States Mint supports the museum’s mission to explore American history,” said Dr. Glass, director of the museum. “The study of coins and currency provides a window into American identity and what it means to be an American.”

The display is intended to inform and educate the American public about coins and the government’s role in minting and issuing coinage. It would also serve as a forum to display and interpret our Nation’s history and heritage of coinage and numismatics, while instilling excitement for collecting among audiences of all ages. The United States Mint and the Smithsonian intend to seek out public venues for exhibiting our Nation’s coins that will bridge the gap between history and the present with interactive and dynamic exhibits about our Nation’s coinage with the goal of sharing the experience throughout the country.

Details about the traveling exhibition are currently being developed and will be announced at a later date. It is anticipated that the exhibition will be approximately 2,500 square feet and will be displayed in several museums across the country over a two–to–three year time span. It will feature coins, medals and other treasured objects from both the museum’s National Numismatic Collection and the United States Mint’s Heritage Assets. The exhibition may also include interactive exhibits and discussion of the cutting–edge technology used at the United States Mint to design and produce new coins and medals.

The Smithsonian’s National Numismatic Collection (NNC), housed in the National Museum of American History, is among the finest numismatic collections in the world. Its holdings of United States coins and currency are unparalleled. The collection consists of approximately 1.6 million objects, including around one million paper currency items and 600,000 coins, tokens and medals. Chronologically, the collection stretches from antiquity to the present, and includes specimens from nations around the world. However, the bulk of the materials are from the United States.

Many of its core holdings date from the 1923 transfer of the collection, then owned by the United States Mint, to the Smithsonian, and continue to be augmented by annual additions of newly produced coins and medals from the United States Mint and through other donors and acquisitions.

In addition, the United States Mint has an important collection of heritage assets. These materials chronicle more than 200 years of the history of the agency and its role in the heritage of our Nation. These natural and historical assets perfectly complement the holdings of the National Numismatic Collection. Together, they will show the public how coins are designed and produced, including new innovations of digital engraving and high–speed automated manufacturing, as well as the historic value of numismatics.

The Smithsonian Institution’s and United States Mint’s long history of mutually beneficial partnerships began in 1838, when gold sovereigns bequeathed by James Smithson for the founding of an establishment in Washington, D.C., were delivered to the United States Mint at Philadelphia for melting and re–minting as United States coins.

Created by Congress in 1792, the United States Mint is the Nation’s sole manufacturer of legal tender coinage. Its primary mission is to produce an adequate volume of circulating coinage for the Nation to conduct its trade and commerce. The United States Mint also produces proof, uncirculated, and commemorative coins, Congressional Gold Medals and gold, silver and platinum bullion coins.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. The museum shines new light on American history after having been dramatically transformed by a two–year renovation. To learn more about the museum, visit http://americanhistory.si.edu/.

For more information.

Tom Jurkowsky, United States Mint (202) 354–7222

Valeska Hilbig, Smithsonian (202) 633–3129


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