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Inside the Economy Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis

We went for an overnight visit to St. Louis when LEGO KidsFest was there. We had been to St. Louis for our family vacation over the Summer, but hadn’t gone downtown. This was the perfect time to explore a bit between our arrival and the start of the LEGO KidsFest.

Before going anywhere I like to look at maps and see what is near our venue, hotel, or attractions we are visiting. I saw the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis was close to the America’s Center where our event was being held.

I thought federal reserves offered some kind of tours, so I checked the site. It took a little bit to find it, but they have a museum called, Inside the Economy Museum, located in the reserve. The museum is free and open to the public Monday – Friday 10 am to 3 pm.

Museum Rules (full rules can be read here)
All people have to go through metal detector.
Your belongings will go through an x-ray.
Anyone over 18 will need a valid government-issued photo ID.
Children under 16 must be with an adult.
No food, drinks, weapons, or smoking.
Photos are allowed in the museum only.
Allow at least an hour for the visit.

Once we went through the check point, got scanned, and received our badges we went upstairs to the museum. Gotta say the building is gorgeous. I kept looking at the chandeliers and the decorative painted ceilings.FederalReserveBankStLouis

The lady, Laura, who was running the museum was very friendly and told us to take pictures, asked how we found the museum, and at the end offered us free materials from their shop.

First we had to get a picture in front of this cube. This is what a 1 million dollars in $1 bills would look like.MillionDollars

When it was time to go in the museum there was a short welcome video. Next you enter a room that has pictures from different financial moments in history, and are displayed in old time Teller windows. You don’t see a lot at first, because the room goes dark, lights start moving and another video starts.FederalReserveBankStLouisMuseum1 It was so modern looking compared to the “old time museum” vibe. FederalReserveMuseumWe didn’t stay as long as we should in this room. The daughter was drawn to the next room that was dark, but had lots of lights glowing on the walls and spilling out into the room we were in .

This is adjoining room is full of hands-on displays. I can’t remember all the exhibits we saw. I know I am missing some in my list below. There was also a seating area with a video playing on loop, that we didn’t watch. There is so much to do, and with two kids they are everywhere.

We looked at demographics for our state based on people having college degrees, our county’s unemployment, etc.
Another display taught you about interest and what things would cost you over time when buying on credit.FederalReserveMuseumExhibit1
There was a hands-on exhibit about inflation and household expenses.
There was another about products that countries export and to whom with a globe so you could see where everything went.
My daughter’s favorite was the stock market game where you can be a Buyer or a Seller. She won both times as a Seller.FederalReserveBankExhibit2

There was also a display showing how much of each denomination was circulating. I love how they “showed” you instead of just listing numbers.
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They say you need to allow an hour here, and they are right! We were still exploring and they were closing up. We could’ve spent another 15-30 minutes there at least. On the way out they have an area with bags of shredded money, postcards, and reading materials. All of these were free for visitors.money

I have to say I was very surprised by this museum. I never expected it to be so interactive, and to be able to keep all of our attentions for so long. We highly enjoyed our visit.

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