Money Museum reopens after major revamp

The 360° cinema in the new Money Museum of the Bundesbank ©Bert Bostelmann
360° cinema

The Bundesbank's new Money Museum is now open to the public after closing for two years for a major revamp and enlargement. "We want to impart meaningful information about money, its history and the tasks facing modern central banks," the Bundesbank's president, Jens Weidmann, explained at the opening ceremony. Unfortunately, large parts of the public were often not particularly knowledgeable about central bank issues, Weidmann continued. Especially among those aged under 30, knowledge of central banks had declined sharply, he lamented. But, he said, the fact that the percentage of the younger generation interested in the economy had risen sharply again in the past three years was reason for hope. "It is clear that the younger generation want to inform themselves again – they just do so in different ways than they used to," the Bundesbank president remarked.

Bringing monetary policy to life

The museum brings the subjects cash, book money, monetary policy and global money to life using various multimedia approaches and makes a point of especially targeting a younger audience. In order to convey frequently abstract central bank themes, the exhibition tries to make a connection with visitors' day-to-day experiences. Payment transactions, for instance, are demonstrated based on a fictional visit to a bank branch. Visitors to the museum learn about the meaning of inflation and why stable money is so important while walking through the aisles of a replica supermarket.

"One of the new Money Museum's highlights is a 12.5 kg bar of gold from the Bundesbank's vaults, which visitors are allowed to touch and feel," Executive Board member Carl-Ludwig Thiele said at the opening ceremony. Thiele also made special mention of another feature, the "banknote swarm" – a glass wall displaying 174 banknotes from 229 countries and regions.

An interactive learning venue

Interactive media stations convey the museum's subject matter in an entertaining way. Visitors can test their knowledge in quizzes or attempt to reconstruct a banknote. Experts and anyone else with a special interest will find more in-depth information at the media stations.

The showpieces of the Bank's coin collection take pride of place in a money cabinet. Other cabinets branching off from the route of the tour take visitors on a trip through the history of money. They can learn all about how banking came into being, experience the hyperinflation of the 1920s and delve into the history of central banking in Germany. Individual display cases at children's eye level bring money-related themes to life for the very young.

Architectural challenges

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Bundesbank Executive Board member Johannes Beermann noted that the museum revamp had been an architectural as well as a design challenge. Expanding the exhibition area to 1,000 square metres had been a "mighty task" and had involved, amongst other things, adding four pillars to bear the weight of three floors.

The building work was coordinated by the architects office KSP Jürgen Engel, which erected the original museum complex back in the 1990s. The Stuttgart-based firm Milla & Partner, which specialises in museum planning, was responsible for designing and implementing the exhibition layout.

Special services for museum visitors

Besides the exhibition itself, the Money Museum offers visitors lectures, specially themed guided tours, workshops and discovery tours for children and youngsters as well as seminars for teachers.

The museum has been open to the public since 17 December 2016. It is located at the Bundesbank’s Central Office, Wilhelm-Epstein-Strasse 14 in Frankfurt am Main. Admission is free. The museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays and from 9 am to 8 pm on Wednesdays.