Exhibition of the Money Museum: an interactive journey
The exhibition was opened on 21 December 2010 in the restored premises at Totorių street 2/8 in Vilnius (author of the project — architect D. Juškienė). The exhibition’s area is 260 m2. It is adapted for the different needs of visitors, it is convenient for people of various ages as well as those with handicaps. Lifts for handicapped people operate at the museum. The handles for pulling out the stand drawers are at a comfortable height. Some of the exhibition’s stands have automatic moving transporters that, with the help of a button, allow regulating the height for viewing the plates with the exhibits and the magnifying glasses. The key information at the museum is presented in Lithuanian and English, but a multi-language audio-guide has been installed with portable electronic devices that have touch sensitive screens and this allows the user to select a tour of the museum in another language. Visitors who are visually impaired are provided with a special audio-guide that has easy-to-find buttons. Visitors that are hearing impaired can use a tablet computer that presents the exhibition in sign language.
For visually handicapped visitors, the Museum offers a special audio guide. For people with hearing disability, the narration about the Museum’s exhibition is translated into sign language on the screen of a tablet computer.
The Money Museum is an interactive museum not only adapted to passively viewing the exposition, but also to the visitor’s active participation in the cognitive process. The Museum is equipped with computer terminals that have special programmes, specially-oriented internet access, thematic, educational and documentary films, games, presentations, virtual exhibitions. A lot of attention is paid towards the encouragement and promotion of economic education. The Money Museum’s visual graphic solutions, integration of pieces of art, various interactive means, visual, sound and light effects have not only been employed to interest and provide the visitor with knowledge, but to help accumulate and consolidate that knowledge, to encourage them to go into detail, interpret and search for answers on their own. For the convenience of individual visitors, an informational terminal is available about the set-up of the halls, exhibitions in the Museum. The first surprise awaits visitors as soon as they enter the Museum. As they approach a phone that was used at the Bank of Lithuania during the inter-war period, it suddenly rings and a message lights up: “Please pick up the phone”. When visitors answer the call, they can hear a greeting from the Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania and are invited to explore the Museum.
There are five exhibition halls in the Museum: History of Money, History of Banking, Modern Money, Lithuania’s Money, Exhibition and Education.
Taking the stairs down to the History of Money Hall, visitors are met with an artistic composition above the door — “Architectural Exposure” — made from the national banknotes of European Union states with built-in calculating machines (artist L. Pivoriūnas). The disintegrated banknotes became for the artist their construction material, a perfect means of artistic expression and a symbol marking Europe’s transition into a new epoch.
The exposition is grouped by easily understandable and memorable themes and presents the key stages in the history of money: “When goods still were money”, “When money became metal”, “Ancient Greece — pioneer of struck coins”, etc. In the centre of the exposition, ancient coin hoards and jewellery articles with coins are exhibited. At the improvised mint the visitor can view the development of coinage techniques — from the tools used in a reconstructed primitive 15th century mint, the screw press of later times to footage of the production of contemporary coins using modern coinage devices. Using one of the oldest means of production, visitors can pretend that they are minters and on their own strike a souvenir 1 penny token. The silicone mannequin of a striker in a typical 15th–16th century outfit, along with specially selected exhibits, become a means for arousing emotions, taking the visitor back to the past, enabling them to feel a participant of historic times.
The interactive device “Which metal is the heaviest?” gives the opportunity to lift imitations of gold, silver and copper alloys in order to feel the weight of the metals, the differences, while the informational poster has an explanation on the density of the metals and other physical parameters.
One interactive device favoured by visitors is a scale that informs a person how much they would cost if they were made of gold, silver or platinum. The device is also linked via computer connection to the internet and the Bank of Lithuania database. A person’s body mass is converted into the mass of gold and other metals and according to actual exchange rates the person’s value is calculated in euro, dollars or another selected currency. The visitor can see the answer on the screen of a computer terminal or on a printed souvenir token.
The floor is illuminated with an artistic installation, reminiscent of a river, called “Googol” (artist A. Gerlikas), which symbolically sums up the whole idea of the hall — that the history of humanity has seen various money, a multitude of its forms, size and minting techniques.
At the end of 2014 the largest coin pyramid in the world was erected at the Money Museum — made from a million Lithuanian one-cent coins. This achievement was given over to be registered in the Guiness Book of World Records.
The Hall’s exhibition is completed with topics dedicated to World War II and the occupation, the 1945–1990 Soviet financial and credit system.
In this hall a lot of attention is paid to Lietuvos bankas — the central bank of the Republic of Lithuania. The exhibits displayed in the showcases tell about the production of contemporary Lithuanian money, its productions materials, the technological solutions applied by different producers; uncirculated specimen banknotes are also on display. The posters in place in the hall highlight the history of the Bank of Lithuania since its establishment in 1990 to the present day, the way covered while joining the European System of Central Banks, and the actions taken in adopting the single currency of the European Union, the euro. On the computer terminals the visitor can find more detailed information about the functions of the Bank of Lithuania, view a cartoon for school-age children about the primary objective of central banks — maintaining price stability, familiarise oneself with banknote security features and immediately verify the authenticity, by UV detection, of a banknote held in their hand.
The hall posters highlight two stages in the issue of Lithuanian money — the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Republic of Lithuania and on a TV screen documentaries about the creation of Lithuanian coins and banknotes are shown non-stop.
As they leave the Museum, visitors can not only sign the guestbook, but also leave money as a token of their visit, which will be kept in a historical safe.
Having answered the test correctly, visitors can print a souvenir banknote of “1 muštinis”.