Smart Money: C&G Partners Designs New Wall Street Museum (Part 1)


Enough with our teasing and excessive financial puns, here’s the bottom line (couldn’t resist one last one): today is the opening of the Museum of American Finance (MAF). Formerly the Museum of American Financial History, the institution has relocated to its new home–a majestic old bank building on Wall Street–from a modest former space at 26 Broadway. We could tell you about some of the highlights of the museum’s collection–a $10,000 bill, ticker tape from the day of the 1929 stock market crash, and a Ford Motor Company stock certificate signed by Henry himself–but we know what you want to hear about: the design. There’s a lot to say, so we’ll break it down into a few posts. First, the challenge:

A C&G Partners team led by the delightful Jonathan Alger (an UnBeige reader, as it happens) masterminded the museum’s exhibition design and brand identity. Alger and C&G Partners have oodles of exhibit design experience, having conceived and designed experiences for the National Museum of American History, the Bronx Zoo, the New York Hall of Science, the Holocaust Museum, and many other institutions and companies, but this project came with its own set of unique challenges. We imagine the brief must have gone something like this:

Design and brand a museum about the history of American finance–from wampum to Bloomberg terminals, and everything in between–in a historic Bank of New York building. Make it exciting but educational, contemporary-feeling but historically-focused, and a good fit for a neo-classical interior with soaring ceilings and permanent 1928 murals by J. Monroe Hewlett. And then there would have been the asterisk pointing to a footnote: Also, the entire museum must be able to disappear nightly, when we rent out the space for parties and such. Good luck!

In the next post, we’ll tell you about the solution