Smithsonian moving ahead with Gallery of Numismatic History tripling current space

New National Numismatic Collection exhibit set to open in July 2015
Published : 04/17/14
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Having met a project budget of $1.5 million for a new Gallery of Numismatic History, officials at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History are seeking additional funding to enhance future displays featuring the National Numismatic Collection.

“Should additional funding become available, other features could include a discovery cart with collections for hands-on learning and a custom designed vault door for the gallery entrance,” according to museum officials. “Exhibition elements will be updated to keep the experience fresh and exciting.”

Museum officials are also working toward incorporating a display case to exhibit new acquisitions and pieces placed on long-term loan from collectors and other sources.

The 1,000-square-foot gallery is part of the museum’s overall West Wing renovations. The gallery space, triple what is currently devoted to numismatics, is scheduled to be ready for the public in July 2015.

Museum officials project that the gallery will be able to accommodate 1 million visitors annually. Access to the exhibit area will be closest from the Constitution Avenue entrance.

The National Numismatic Collection, containing nearly 1.6 million objects, is the largest numismatic collection in North America and one of the largest in the world. Coins, medals and decorations in the collection total more than 450,000; paper money accounts for another 1.1 million pieces. As a whole, the collection highlights the entire numismatic history of the world.

Discovery drawers

The Gallery of Numismatic History’s six display cases, covered with Plexiglas, are designed to exhibit small objects.

Each case will be accompanied by pull-out discovery drawers positioned below, to expand the number of objects displayed, according to museum officials. The contents of the display drawers will be rotated in and out regularly.

The objects will be secured so that they can be viewed, but not individually handled or removed, by the public.

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