The spirit of America reflected in Money Museum exhibit

May 4, 2001 By ekr

The spirit of America reflected in Money Museum exhibit

Following the trails being laid down by the new American Buffalo commemorative dollar –launched today – the spirit of the Native American West will come alive this July in the first exhibit to grace the newly renovated Money Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The massive display, entitled “Proud Spirits – American Indians, Bison and U.S. Money,” is produced by the American Numismatic Association (ANA) and is inspired by James Earle Fraser, the famed sculptor of the ever-popular Buffalo/Indian Head nickel that was minted from 1913 to 1938.

Fraser’s designs, forever influenced by his youthful days in the fast-developing West of the late 19th century, also grace the new commemorative silver dollar that began rolling off the presses today following first-strike ceremonies at the United States Mint in Denver. Sales of the coin, sponsored by Colorado’s United States Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell and U.S. Representative Frank Lucas, will help fund the opening and endowment of the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian.

“President Theodore Roosevelt, who was infatuated with the American West through his own experiences, sought to spur the Mint to issue coins worthy of a great nation, in effect to make better calling cards for the United States,” says H. Robert Campbell, president of the ANA, a nonprofit, 30,000-member, educational organization chartered by Congress. “The exhibition at the ANA’s Money Museum not only will showcase Fraser’s contributions, including the nickel and the new commemorative coin, but also tell the story of America’s money and how it was influenced by its native people and animals.”

The Money Museum exhibit will describe the creation of Fraser’s nickel, the demands of the then-new vending-machine industry, the three Indian chiefs who sat as models – Iron Tail, a Sioux; Big Tree, a Kiowa; and Two Moons, a Cheyenne – and Black Diamond, a bison at the Bronx Zoo. The exhibit also will show:
  • • Images of native Americans on Colonial coins and paper money, and Civil War tokens
  • • The function of Indian Peace medals
  • • The story of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and their guide Sacagawea, whose image appears on the new golden dollar coin
  • • The medals created for the Choctaw and Navajo Code Talkers of World Wars I and II, respectively
  • • Jim Thorpe’s posthumously awarded Olympic gold medals
  • • Modern-day gaming tokens from tribal casinos.

The ANA Money Museum, on the Colorado College campus at 818 North Cascade Avenue in Colorado Springs, currently is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation and will re-open to the public on July 14. When the renovation is completed, the ANA showcase will be one of the world’s largest museums of its kind, stimulating visitors’ interest in numismatics with intriguing windows on the worlds of history, art, geography, religion, economics, sociology and architecture.The ANA Money Museum will remain free and open to the public six days a week, except holidays. To make arrangements for group tours or request more information call 719/632-2646; or visit the ANA web site (, where visitors can see the construction project in progress.

Originally Release Date: May 4, 2001
ANA Contacts: Phone: 719-482-9872
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