April 27, 2010
Currency Museum

Memories of yesterday's blue skies, blazing sun and high of 18 degrees have faded quickly in the face of today's wet flurries.  Aside from all the spring flowers everywhere it feels like late November! 


Of course, a few flurries weren't enough to curb Elizabeth's desire to go outside, so when I read that the currency museum is located inside a "tropical indoor Garden court", it was obvious where we'd be headed after her nap. (2010 museum count: 6. Remaining # of museums to visit: 30.)


I'd never been to the currency museum before but I was quite impressed, especially since there is no admission fee.  The architecture and landscaping are really beautiful.  Hopefully it's not wasted on the bankers and accountants that get to work out of offices backing onto the garden court! 


We duly admired the Rai stone money from Yap and Elizabeth had fun dropping a penny or two into the wishing pool.  The museum itself is only a few rooms but they've made good use of the space and it's jam-packed with information.  I was only able to read a few snippets here and there as I was also supervising Elizabeth but what I did see was fascinating enough to warrant a second visit.  I think a guided tour of this place would be very interesting too.


The displays are very artistically arranged, although I don't know whether this comes across in my photos (No flash photography allowed, plus dim lighting, plus active baby doesn't lend itself to brilliant pictures.)  The museum reminded me a lot of an art gallery. The physical space has a lot of comfortable places to sit, including bean bag chairs for the younger visitors. 


A few of the things I found particularly interesting:

  • A reproduction of an actual "talent".  Somehow this wasn't what I visualized last time I read Matthew 25:14-30
  • The simulated bank vault with all kinds of older and newer bills.  I took a picture of the Portugal slide just for Grandma and Grandpa H!  Newer Canadian bills are much less pretty than their predecessors.
  • The whole discussion of coin shortages in the colonies.  So many people made coins back then!  I was strongly reminded of Terry Pratchett's very amusing "Making Money", which Brendan and I recently finished reading.

The exhibits are surprisingly child-friendly.  Elizabeth was delighted to discover at least three different colouring stations.  Not quite as popular as the colouring was the exhibit with different fur to pet (pelts were used as currency).  Possibly this reminded her of the scary polar bear at the Museum of Nature, but eventually she got into petting the fur and flipping the panels up to see the corresponding animal underneath.


Elizabeth's favourite part of the museum was probably the two coin memory games.  Each game had eight pairs of matching coin reproductions hidden by panels attached with velcro.  Elizabeth spent quite a lot of time pulling the panels off, throwing them over her shoulder and then grabbing them and putting them back on again. 


A group of about fifty teenagers arrived just as we were leaving so I quickly stuffed a protesting Elizabeth into her snowsuit.  We walked home with wet snowflakes streaming out of the sky.

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