The new Museum’s first special exhibition
Unlike renovating a house, when we closed the Museum for its four-year re-invention, we couldn’t just “stay” at another museum until the water got turned back on. Or could we have? In fact, once the renovation was under way, that’s essentially what we did. Though we didn’t sleep on anybody’s couch, we did create a travelling exhibitions program to keep the virtual doors open while the actual doors were closed. We stayed at museums from Kitimat, B.C., to Gimli, MB, and from Timmins, ON, to Chicoutimi, QC, and we still have a few bookings available for 2019. Now that we are again back in our own house, we’ve invited one of our wandering exhibitions home for a visit: Decoding E-Money.
As the title suggests, this exhibition aims to remove the confusion about what exactly e‑money is. It’s important to make the distinction between what people think of as e‑money and what, in fact, it is. In a backgrounder on its website, the Bank of Canada defines e‑money as
…monetary value that is stored and transferred electronically through a variety of means—a mobile phone, tablet, contactless card (or smart card), computer hard drive or servers.
Despite their fully electronic environments, debit cards, e‑mail transfers and credit cards are not examples of e‑money. They are methods of payment that follow electronic pathways along which transaction information travels. It might be more helpful to imagine e-money as money that has been withdrawn from a bank account and stuffed into an envelope waiting to be spent. The “envelope” just happens to be an electronic device.
The version of e‑money we are most concerned with in this exhibition is cryptocurrency and, specifically, the ever-newsworthy Bitcoin. You can purchase it using your national currency, and it can be sold for currency, but in between it acts all by itself as a token of exchange that exists entirely online. Bitcoin doesn’t actually meet the criteria for a currency, but its underpinning technology, called the blockchain, is ground-breaking—a system that allows for secure transactions without third-party oversight. We studied it for you so that you can explore it too.
Like its mother museum, Decoding E‑money has a great number of interactive features. It is, fittingly, a very digital exhibition, with games, a timeline, videos and interpretive content all accessed using touch panels and computer consoles. The only significant part of the display that is not digital is the artifact zone, a breath of old-fashioned air in a very modern exhibition. Here, you will see money that was, in its day, as difficult for some to accept as digital currencies are today. To help visitors explore in-depth information about these artifacts, we provide you with a book, an appropriately low-tech medium.
So please drop by the Museum and check out Decoding E money. It will be in our special exhibitions space until April 22, 2018.
March 7, 2017 Museum Reconstruction - Part 6
So how’s the Bank of Canada Museum progressing? Everything seems to be ticking along just fine, thanks.
January 24, 2017 Participating in Audience Research
Like us at the Bank of Canada Museum, the Canada Science and Technology Museum will be opening a completely redesigned facility in 2017.
December 23, 2016 Is That Blitzen on Our Quarter?
Well into my adulthood, I had assumed that the noble beast gracing the reverse side of our quarters was a moose. Clearly, I was not a terribly observant coin collector.
December 21, 2016 A Bank NOTE-able Woman III
Desmond truly exemplifies a Canadian who has overcome barriers, is inspirational to others, has made a positive change to society and in so doing, left a lasting legacy.
December 1, 2016 Why We are Not the Currency Museum
But a few years before it closed, the Currency Museum officially became an arm of the Communications Department. And this was the crucial factor that would change the future mission of the Museum.
September 15, 2016 Decoding E-Money III: It’s hitting the road
So what’s Decoding E-money all about? If you aren’t one of our several ardent followers (Hi Mom), a brief description is in order. It’s about the present and the future of money.
August 30, 2016 Gold Rush! and Mining the Miners
Mining the Miners is our third temporary exhibition at the CMH (we reopen in 2017) and it is indeed about the Klondike gold rush. It’s always nice to be able to dovetail our exhibits with those of our host.