The Museum of American Finance was founded in 1988. It is on Wall St, right next to the 2,3 subway stop. In the Financial District, of course. Just a few blocks away from the New York Stock Exchange. Admission is free on Saturdays; $8 other days.
The building is absolutely beautiful. It used to be the headquarters for the Bank of New York. It has a bank feel, which definitely works for the museum.
Exhibits & Information
This is largely a reading museum. Although very educational, half of the museum is focused on the stock market and likely wouldn’t hold the attention of a small child. There are many hands-on interactive pieces but these focus more on text than images. This is a museum for adults who love history or money or both.
The upper part focuses on history. There is an exhibit on the history of American currency, Alexander Hamilton, Checks & Credit, and the Federal Reserve. This includes lots of historical tidbits. I really do recommend reading everything.
The lower part focuses solely on the stock market, stock exchange, and investments. The history of the Dow Jones is a great exhibit. Pieces of history are discussed in context of whether the stock market dropped or increased. Pretty interesting if you’re into economics history.
There a few really great panels educating investing. I think I learned more about individual investments in this exhibit than I ever did from pf blogs & Internet literature on the topic. It breaks down what the types of investments are. Where your money goes. How to read a stock ticker. How to calculate yield. Plus some history of the stock market and key investors.
Museum of American Finance is Worth the Trip
It should take you about 1–2 hours to see everything in this museum. I left in a little under two hours and I took the time to read everything. It’s a small museum but definitely worth a stop. Especially if you are into American history. Or economics. And live in nyc. There is no reason not to stop by here on a Saturday. It’s free. And in an easily accessible part of Financial District.
If you’re visiting, it’s difficult for me to recommend spending limited time here. But if it really piques your interest, you’ll find it’s worth it.