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 It might be more helpful to imagine e-money as money that has been withdrawn from a bank account and stuffed into an envelope waiting to be spent.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 May 6, 2018.
September 27, 2017 THE “BIG SIX”
The necessity of creating and adopting these concepts becomes clear when one begins to get a sense of history’s downright frightening lack of objectivity.
September 12, 2017 How’re We Doing So Far?
It’s all good, and we couldn’t be happier with our first few weeks of business.
July 18, 2017 A Dash Through the Imperial War Museum
So, despite the known health risks, I rashly decided to “do” London’s Imperial War Museum (IWM) in a single morning. It almost worked.
July 11, 2017 Our Grand Opening…
After four years of plans, worries, setbacks, successes and sheer hard work, the Bank of Canada Museum opened its doors—on Canada Day, right on schedule.
June 28, 2017 July First, 2017: It’s Our Grand Opening!
Situated as we are on the edge of the Parliamentary Precinct, there could be no better time to open our doors than when tens of thousands of festive Canadians are likely to be milling around.
June 22, 2017 Museum Reconstruction - Part 8
The last few stragglers among our artifacts are ready for installation and the interactives and digital labels are bulking up with the final software and data, in them, so it’s all there, functional and looking fantastic.
June 16, 2017 The Yap Stone Returns
For us, its removal from the Garden Court dramatically marked the Currency Museum’s closing. The big stone’s return now performs the opposite role for the new Bank of Canada Museum—heralding its opening.