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Show Me the Money: Building Public Trust through Central Bank Museums
11. May 2022/14:00 - 16:00
Lecture by Prof. Juliet Johnson (Department of Political Science, Mc Gill University – Canada)
This talk examines how central banks attempt to build public trust in money through strategically employing what I call the stability narrative. This narrative asserts that central banks: 1) can maintain the value of money; 2) can maintain the security of money; 3) represent the nation; and 4) have grown increasingly professional and sophisticated – and thus better at their jobs – over time. I explore the stability narrative by studying its expression in central bank visitor centers/museums, drawing on interviews/site visits to 18 leading central bank museums as well as qualitative content analysis of the websites of the over 150 central bank museums that currently exist around the world. Museums tell stories; they distill, teach, and privilege the beliefs of their creators. As such, museums represent an ideal vehicle for understanding the ways in which central banks attempt to build public trust by promoting their ability to govern money. This task has become more difficult and more important over time, as central bankers increasingly rely upon communicative strategies in order to defend national and international monetary stability.