How well do you know your money? Have you ever taken out a bill and studied it? Go ahead, get one out of your purse or wallet or piggy bank. Did you ever notice the words written across the top? No matter what denomination, it says Federal Reserve Note. Our money is printed by the treasury, but it’s been put into circulation by one of the twelve Federal Reserve Banks spanning the country. Missouri is the only state to have two such banks. The one in St. Louis oversees much of the state, all of Arkansas, and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee and Mississippi. The one in Kansas City handles the western side of Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Colorado, and part of New Mexico.
First, I’d like to draw your attention to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis website. It’s got a great deal of educational resources for all ages. I drew a lot of material from there when I taught personal finances to our 4-H club: stock market games, flash cards, even lesson plans for tying economics to favorite books like Little House in the Big Woods (think about The Wonderful Machine chapter and discuss human resources v. capital resources with the combine to harvest wheat). You don’t have to be teaching others, perhaps you’d just like to educate yourself as a consumer to understand terms like “opportunity cost” or “gross domestic product” – you’ll find a series of podcasts to teach you.
Now, for the really observant, you’ll spot an error in my title image. I needed an “F” for this alphabetical post, but that’s actually the designation for the Atlanta district (Kansas City is noted with a “J”)—I admit to the Photoshopping. More importantly, I want you to notice the star on the image is over Kansas City. That’s because the Reserve Bank there is really a destination you must travel to in person. That’s because it’s home to The Money Museum! While you’re there you can:
- Stand next to a $40 million dollar wall made of stacked $100’s
- See if you can lift a bar of gold (it’s encased and you lift with a lever)
- See if you can spot the counterfeit $20 bill
- Watch robots move and stack cases of money in the Reserve Bank’s cash vault
- Take a picture of an enlarged $100,000 bill with your own face as the portrait
- See a display of coins minted in every President’s administration
The museum is FREE (your tax dollars at work) to visit. Just so you’re not caught off guard – this is a real bank with LOTS of real money. As a visitor you’ll be expected to store any coats and bags in a locker (you can hold the key), guests over 18 must present a photo ID, there are metal detectors and x-ray machines, and photography is prohibited in certain areas.
Now for the wise guy that’s asking “Do they give out any free samples?” The answer is YES! Each guest is allowed to take home a FREE bag containing about $165. The only catch --- it has been shredded.
I’m linking up with …