You’re in the Money at the Family Museum

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Where can you play the stock market, run your own lemonade stand, put your face on a million dollar bill, and see samples of currency from pounds to pesos? In Moneyville, that’s where! This brand new traveling exhibit will appear at the Family Museum from Oct. 2, 2010 through Jan. 9, 2011.

Moneyville uses the fascinating subject of money to build math skills and promote economic literacy in a fun, immersive setting. The colorful city includes a bank, store, anti-counterfeiting lab, stock market, and a shipping dock. Hands-on activities range from creating your own “money” to exploring anti-counterfeiting measures to seeing what a million dollars looks like. Throughout the exhibit, visitors discover how money is made, spent, earned, saved, and how it connects people around the world. They explore the history, science and culture behind monetary systems and start to see money in a whole new way.

In today’s shaky economy, building a strong foundation of math skills has never been more important. The average American carries nearly $9,000 in credit card debt, according to a 2001 report by the Consumer Federation of America, and consequently the average U.S. family is spending more than $1,000 per year in interest and fees. The number of personal bankruptcies reported annually is on the rise. Obviously, everyone stands to gain from learning how to be more money-savvy. And where do these smarts begin? By establishing solid math skills at an early age. A recent study by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics reveals that many students are not learning the mathematics they need in school. That’s where Moneyville can help. Whiz-bang computer games, a multitude of video screens, and eye-popping graphics engage kids (and their parents) in a variety of hands-on activities that show them that using math is fun. They see that the system of economics is really about making choices and learning from the consequences of those choices, and they leave the exhibit with valuable problem-solving skills they can use every day.

The 2,000-square-foot exhibit features over 15 interactive components in five thematic areas:

The Money Factory

Find out how money is made, explore the history of money, put your face on a million dollar bill, explore security measures used in U.S. currency, and use high-tech equipment to find fake bills in an anti-counterfeiting lab.

The Bank

Discover how compound interest can really add up, and see what a million dollars looks like. At the Kids Bank, children learn math basics and role-play with oversized coins in a kid-sized teller window.

To Market, To Market

Learn about supply and demand as you run a “lemonade stand” and see how long you can stay in business. Take the floor of a simulated stock market and compete with other day traders as you watch the flashing ticker board. Younger visitors open shop at the Kids Market, complete with play money, fruit and vegetables, and produce scales.

Dollars and Sense

Try your hand at balancing your budget between needs and wants. Learn about the real cost of credit and discover how your budget savvy can help you in the real world.

Global Trade

Explore the interdependence of international trade and markets, the role of trade in world cultures, and how wealth is distributed around the world. Guess the mystery imports inside shipping crates and view a display of families and their possessions from around the world.

Moneyville was made possible by the generous support of the National Science Foundation, the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation and The NASDAQ Stock Market Educational Foundation, Inc. The exhibit was created and is toured by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It is supported locally by The Family Credit Union and the Family Museum Foundation.

MONEYOPOLIS is a registered trademark of Ernst & Young. The MONEYVILLE trademark is used under license.