Young Americans Blog

Exploring Our Monetary System

By: Katie Payer Published: May 5th, 2014
At the Money Museum, Youth Board members got to design their own currency.

At the Money Museum, Youth Board members got to design their own currency.

On Monday, April 21, the members of the 2013-2014 Youth Advisory Board toured the Federal Reserve’s Denver branch, and the Denver Mint.  We’re lucky to have these two locations right in our city to explore.  It’s a great way to get a deeper understanding of our monetary system in the United States.

Federal Reserve

After exploring the Money Museum for a bit at the Federal Reserve, the Youth Board members watched a short video that explained the role the Fed plays in managing money, inflation, and regulation.  Our fantastic tour guide then walked us through the creation and history of the Federal Reserve.  One interesting thing to learn was that the majority of the ten Federal Reserve offices are east of the Mississippi River.  The population of the United States was mostly on the East Coast when the Fed was established.  Even though the population has shifted dramatically since then, the Fed doesn’t have any plans to redistribute or change office locations.

After the great explanation, we headed downstairs to view the room where the Fed actually handles and processes all the money that comes through.  We saw a crate with $30 million sitting on it.  We saw tubes that take away the shredded money if it’s counterfeit, or too torn to stay in circulation.  We also learned about how all the shredded paper is recycled.

The Federal Reserve Money Museum is a great resource.

The Federal Reserve Money Museum is a great resource.

Denver Mint

Our group next headed down 16th Street Mall to the Denver Mint.  We spent a fascinating 40 minutes learning about how coins are made.  We saw “the waffler.” which destroys a coin that is not perfectly made by pressing waffle marks into it.  We saw large bins full of shiny pennies and quarters.  We also got to see the new National Park quarters being designed and made.

Our group learned about an employee in the 1920s who stole gold bars out of the Mint.  We also got to see real gold bars and observe how heavy they are.

Overall, the group had an exciting and informational day learning about the role Denver plays in our country’s monetary system.  These builders are open for public tours, so visit their websites to schedule your experience.

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