Financial History 25th Anniversary Special Edition (104, Fall 2012) | Page 8

so there wasn’t much time to prepare. I had some Hamilton material and started to work on what was the first exhibit in America commemorating Hamilton’s contributions to the founding of the nation. I called Joanne Freeman, a doctoral student at the Library of Congress where the Hamilton papers are housed, and learned that she had designed an exhibit for the US Treasury that had not been displayed and could be available. When I heard that, I said “Okay, sold.” I knew I could rely on her scholarship, and all I had to do was raise the money, about $50,000. The exhibit opened on time, with a ceremony featuring some notable speakers and the Fort Hamilton marching band from Brooklyn. About 6,000 people saw it, and the exhibit got favorable press. That was a great feeling, and, encouraged by the momentary success we had achieved, I made the decision to carry on with the project. I applied for tax-exempt status for the Museum, which was granted with a provisional charter that year (the Museum’s absolute charter was granted a few years later, by the New York State Board of Regents). I hired an assistant to attend to all the Museum issues, and I continued being the CEO of Herzog Heine Geduld. As the Museum developed and grew, we realized it needed its own physical space. This was obtained by using a small entry area the trading firm was not using, which was only about 250 square feet. One of the first exhibits in that space was called “America, Money and War,” and it told the story of financing the Civil War for the first time. The exhibit was beautifully researched and presented by Douglas Ball, a nationally-recognized numismatist. At the time, I often acted as a host for visiting Congressiona