“There are a lot of interactive exhibit components that really allow kids to experience some real-world economics and use of money that they can relate to,” said Jane Turner, the museum’s executive director.
Children can make their own money, see what $1 million looks like through a see-through safe, run a lemonade stand, balance a household budget and check out different global imports.
Turner said the target age group for the exhibit is about 4 to 12 but those outside that range can also see the value in it. Karen Kelly, director of exhibits and education, agreed.
“One of the things that I like about this exhibit is that it works for children and adults of all ages,” Kelly said. “If you’re little and you like pretending to shop, you can learn a little more about money and shopping and role-playing adult roles. But if you’re older, you can learn everything from the science of counterfeiting and detecting counterfeits to playing the stock market.”
Both Turner and Kelly said the exhibit has helped open up conversations between children and their parents about money.
“I see adults talking to their children in the exhibit, and that’s one of the things we always hope for — that parents and their kids interact in the exhibit,” Kelly said.
Turner said before bringing the exhibit to Atlanta, museum staff met with local money and finance experts from PNC Bank, Junior Achievement and the Federal Reserve Bank, who provided input and helped to make sure the concepts in the exhibit were accurately portrayed.
“As a result of that, PNC Bank did provide some workshops for parents to learn about how to teach their kids about money,” she said. “We try to really beef up all the opportunities that we can around a given exhibit.”
Also running in conjunction with the exhibit is a 20-minute musical entitled “We’re in the Money.”
“The music’s fantastic,” Turner said. “It’s all original music. It’s about learning through fun.”
Said Kelly, “It’s all about earning, spending, saving and sharing.”
The museum’s actor-educators, who are called Imaginators, wrote the musical and they also direct and act in the daily performances.
Kelly said the exhibit has been very popular. The museum’s outreach program also brings activities relating to the exhibit to community groups across the city, including early child care centers, homeless shelters and elementary schools.
If you go:
o What: “Moneyville” exhibit
o Where: Children’s Museum of Atlanta, 275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive, downtown
o When: Through Tuesday; Hours are Thursday, Friday, Monday and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
o Cost: $12.75
o Information: (404) 659-5437 or www.childrensmuseumatlanta.org