Introduction and Brief HistoryEdit
Founded in 1988 as the Museum of American Financial History, it is located in the Financial District of New York City. The museum opened at its current location of the former Bank of New York Building at 48 Wall St. in January of 2008 having made the short move from nearby Standard Oil building at 26 Broadway.
The Museum was first conceived in the wake of the 1987 stock market crash by John E. Herzog. As partner in the firm Herzog Heine Geduld, he saw the chaos that resulted from the market crashing over 500 points, nearly 23%, in a single day. Recalling the lessons learned from his parents who weathered the market crash of '29, he realized those same lessons had been forgotten by many people across the country. Herzog wanted to enhance people's understanding of the financial markets and contribute to their financial education.
Combining his 30 years of experience in the trading business, his collection of financial memorabilia and his wife Diana's position as head of R.M. Smyth and Co., a numismatic auction firm the musuem began to take shape. The "Museum Project" started in 1988 with an exhibition at the Custom House that traced the history of American finance from South Sea Company in England to the Liberty Loan Bond Drives of World War I. Herzog followed this in 1989 with the original museum exhibit of Alexander Hamilton, the first U.S. Treasury Secretary, attracting 6,000 visitors. The Museum was then organized with tax-exempt status, a board of Trustees and a provisional charter as the Museum of American Finance.
The museum collection is made up of a variety of documents, objects and phtographs relating the financial and banking history of America. Dating back as early as the 18th century these include early stock certificates, company charters, colonial era currency, historical photographs of Wall Street and prominent businessmen, as well as objects used in trading such as ticker tape machines.