C’mon and Take a Free Ride!
The ANA Money Museum’s bus program benefits local schools, many of which are dealing with budget crunches.
The ANA’s Edward C. Rochette Money Museum features more than 5,000 square feet of exhibits that appeal to visitors of all ages and interests. The Association is always looking for ways to boost attendance, and efforts such as National Coin Week and the ANA’s collaboration with the Pikes Peak Library District have increased the number of children who visit the museum.
In Fall 2012, the ANA introduced the “Money Bus,” a program that reimburses local schools for transportation costs incurred by field trips to the Money Museum. The program has been a great success, with 40 such funded visits in the last two years. All told, about 1,500 students who would not have been able to tour the Money Museum have been introduced to numismatics through the free program.
In recent years, budgets in many Colorado Springs school districts have been pared down, leaving little money for field trip bus transportation. The ANA reached out to districts around the Pikes Peak region and provided an easy online form that educators can use to apply for field trip assistance. The Money Bus provides payment (about $150) for one bus per school group. The response from educators has been better than expected, and many teachers who were not aware the Museum existed now consider it their favorite destination.
“Our district’s partnership with the ANA has opened the world of money for our elementary students,” says Joan Jahelka, social studies facilitator/AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) district director at District 11, Colorado Springs’ largest school district. “By providing the Money Bus program for our most impacted schools, students experience their first museum, and learn how money tells the story of our nation and our world as primary source documents. The program allows our students to experience a world-class resource near their school and home so that they can think, read and write like historians and numismatists.”
The Money Bus solves the issue of getting schoolchildren to the Museum, but once there, it’s up to the ANA’s knowledgeable docents to provide a meaningful experience. Most of the group tours are led by longtime ANA members and volunteer tour guides Keith Grove, Milton Newell and Jerry Fritz (pictured), who combine numismatic knowledge with vast experience in education and public speaking. Money Bus tours generally last 60-90 minutes, with docents tailoring their tours to fit age, interest and group size.
“It’s a program that’s well worth my time and financial support,” says Grove, who recently received an ANA Presidential Award and contributes regularly to the program. “The students we welcome through the Money Bus program wouldn’t otherwise make it to the Museum, and to see them have a meaningful and enjoyable visit is very gratifying. Hopefully the program will continue to expand and keep docents like me busy!”
The Association has invested resources to ensure a variety of interactive, educational components for students. ANA Numismatic Instructor Sam Gelberd (pictured) has developed hands-on classes and activities in the Museum’s Kids Zone for participants. Each school group views a “Mini Mint” demonstration of how coins were made when the U.S. Mint was founded.
Exhibits and activities are developed with Colorado curriculum standards in mind, resulting in a tour that satisfies teachers by highlighting subjects that match units of study.
“The Money Bus has been instrumental in promoting our Museum and Kids Zone,” says Gelberd, whose background is in secondary education. “Children are in awe of our array of exhibits and programs, and it’s wonderful that the ANA can provide transportation reimbursement to local schools at a time when funding for many school districts does not allow for field trips. The Money Bus program solidifies our educational commitment to the local community.”