John Herzog was on the trading floor on 1987, when the market fell 508 points. With a background in finance and a unique collection of financial memorabilia acquired by his wife’s auction house, Herzog began organizing a museum of finance, to better educate the public about the free market and Wall Street.
The first major exhibit in 1989 focused on Alexander Hamilton, the first Treasury Secretary. Since then, the museum has expanded and undergone major renovations. When it reopened in January 2008, the museum could not have predicted how much the market would change in the coming year. And the public needed the education it could provide.
Located at 48 Wall Street, the museum is in the oldest bank in the United States, founded in 1784. Only a block from the New York Stock Exchange, The museum celebrates “the spirit of entrepreneurship and the democratic free market tradition which has made New York City the financial capital of the world.”
Through permanent exhibitions on the history of money, banking in America, and the financial markets, the museum hopes to educate the public about the world of commerce in which they engage every day.
When the credit crisis hit, the museum began chronicling the changes and now features a timeline dating back to February 2007 about the causes and impacts of the Recession. It seems Wall Street traders could use a trip to the museum, too.
Update December 2018: Due to a flood in January 2018, the museum is closed. It was announced on December 4, 2018, that it will not be reopening at this location.