We were all excited to check out Washington DC on Monday morning, and as soon as we crossed the bridge, Noah started excitedly spotting the monuments. I was surprised at how well he remembered the different landmarks from our brief studies.
The chilly, windy, rainy day wasn’t ideal for sightseeing, but we made it work. Our first stop? The Bureau of Engraving & Printing to watch them make the money! We entered the building through two small holding areas, where we were able to check out some money memorabilia. Ever seen $1 million? If not, then check out the picture above – a stack of $10 bills totaling $1 million! We also learned about the original size of paper currency (larger, then sized down to save production costs) , read about some of the security features put in place each time currency has been redesigned and measured ourselves in money! Noah is $1.1 million tall (in $100 bills), and Ava is $885,000.
Before heading off on the tour, we watched a short movie about how the BEP works, which included information on how the plates are etched and money is printed. From there, we were off to see for ourselves. We saw the seemingly blank pages ready for printing, saw the different colors in the printing process and learned where the sheets are cut in half (32 images to 16 images). Next, we saw where the seals and serial numbers are added and the bills are cut (first down to 2 images, then finally to 1) and wrapped. After a series on inspections, the bundles are packed into bricks, palletized and sent to the Federal Reserve (pictured below) vault for monetization.
Leaving the BEP, it was a mad dash through the rain to find some lunch, and the first place we spotted food was through the window to the café at the National Museum of American History. After eating, we decided to explore the museum instead of heading back outside. We stumbled upon some great, interactive kids’ science exhibits, saw Julia Childs’ kitchen and visited the American on the Move transportation exhibit.
When the museum closed (or technically, about an hour after the museum closed when they finally started shooing people out), we trekked back through the rain to find our car and rustled up hot chocolate for all for the drive home.