Free museum: Federal Reserve Money Museum.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago operates a small but interesting museum about the history of money and the work of the Federal Reserve.
The exhibits cover a mix of academic, hands-on, and outright fun. There’s a movie about the history of the Federal Reserve. You can design your own currency and have the result emailed to you. Counterfeit currency is displayed next to real currency to test your skills of observation. And, you can see the $1 million cube.
Not only is admission free, but visitors can get a bag of shredded US currency worth $364 – if you could put it all together. Where else can you see a free museum and receive a free souvenir?
The museum is open on Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm. Guided tours are offered each day at 1:00 pm. Adults must have a valid ID, and everyone has to go through security including a metal detector. Go through the Fed’s front doors on LaSalle Street and look for the museum to your left.
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
230 S. LaSalle Street, Chicago
Here’s the Museum’s official description:
In 2001, the Bank opened a Money Museum, which offers visitors an informative and interactive look at the important role of the Federal Reserve in maintaining a healthy, growing economy. The 5,600-square-foot space features a functional interplay of elliptical forms, curves and diagonal walls to create a space that invites visitors to explore.
About the Federal Reserve Bank
- The Bank building was completed in 1922. It was designed by the firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst and White.
- In 1954, the Bank purchased two adjoining buildings, which were torn down to make room for a 16-story addition with 180,000 square feet of space. The architectural firm Naess and Murphy developed the addition, which was completed in 1960.
- By the early 1980s, the Bank once again found itself strapped for space and in need of major renovations to accommodate a modern infrastructure. Rather than relocate outside the city or construct a new building, the Bank decided to renovate and expand its existing space.
- In 1986, the Chicago architectural firm Holabird and Root began to renovate the existing 820,000 square feet and add a 165,000-square-foot, 14-story addition, which filled in an open section on the northwest corner of the building.
Other architecture in the area:
- The Bank has a “twin” across the street. The Wintrust Bank Building is identical except for the columns.
- While you’re in the area take a quick peek into the Rookery Building at 209 S La Salle St. Designed by Daniel Burnham and John Root in 1888. Updated by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905.
- Federal Plaza including Calder’s Flamingo. Designed by Chicago architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and completed in 1975, the John C. Kluczynski Federal Building and Loop Station Post Office is a 43-story skyscraper paired with a separate one-story post office.
- Monadnock Building, 53 W. Jackson. Built in 1893 it was the tallest building in the world at completion. The north half of the Monadnock is probably the tallest building ever built that is supported primarily by brick walls. At ground level, those walls are six feet thick.
- And if you’re looking for some cheap eats head over to the Saucy Porka,