Wall Street Leaders Raise $1.5M for the Museum of American Finance


Wide shot of man speaking on stage to large crowd
The Museum of American Finance’s 2024 Gala on March 7. Copyright (c) 2024 Alan Barnett/Courtesy Museum of American Finance

The only independent museum in the U.S. dedicated to finance and financial history is getting a seven-figure boost from leaders and institutions across Wall Street.

Around $1.5 million was raised during the Museum of American Finance’s 2024 Gala on March 7, as first reported by Reuters. Honoring industry figures like investor Howard Marks, the museum received funds from Marks’ family foundation and his firm Oaktree Capital Management, in addition to securing support from the likes of Citadel, JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo and Goldman Sachs (GS).

“We know that for the average American, finance can be intimidating and often difficult to understand,” said museum president David Cowen at the event. “We break through this barrier with our programming, which is always free of charge.”

Two men and one woman pose on stage
Emcees Bob Pisani (left) and Consuelo Mack (right) present Howard Marks with the 2024 MoAF Lifetime Achievement Award. Copyright (c) 2024 Alan Barnett/Courtesy Museum of American Finance

With more than 450 attendees, the museum’s 2024 gala was co-chaired by finance giants like Citadel CEO Ken Griffin and former SEC chairman William Donaldson. It awarded the achievements of Richard Clarida, global economic advisor at PIMCO; Charles Royce, founder of Royce Investment Partners; and Tina Byles Williams, founder of Xponance.

The future of the Museum of American Finance

Founded shortly after the 1987 market crash, the Museum of American Finance was initially located in Manhattan’s U.S. Customs House. An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, it moved to the former headquarters of the Bank of New York in 2008, where its collection of stocks and bonds, currency and other financial artifacts remained until a 2018 water pipe burst flooded the building and left three floors damaged.

It has been left without a permanent space ever since—something museum leadership is hoping to change. “Amid all the incredible virtual programming, we haven’t lost sight of the value of a physical location for the museum in NYC and other major cities,” said Cowen. “We are in active conversations about donated space but it’s not too late if you would like to talk to us about housing the museum—come and talk to us and see if there’s something incredible we can build together.”

Person looks at display of bonds behind glass case
Vintage bonds on display at the Museum of American Finance in 2008. Emmanuel Dunand/AFP via Getty Images

Funds raised during its gala are not specifically earmarked for the new location but will benefit ongoing initiatives at the Museum of American Finance, including the digitization of its vast collection. Through a partnership with Georgia-based archival preservation company Heritage Werks, more than 2,500 high-priority museum objects have already been scanned during the project’s first phase.

The museum also recently created an eight-case traveling exhibit and continues to publish the quarterly Financial History magazine. It recently expanded its personal finance education program for high school students through a partnership with the New York Public Library, in addition to running an event programming series with the Gabelli Center for Global Security Analysis at Fordham.

The institution’s archive, which includes objects like a $10,000 bill and ticker tape from the 1929 stock market crash, is expected to grow substantially in the future thanks to an intended donation of items from museum founder John Herzog. A bond from the famed Louisiana Purchase is included in Herzog’s collection, according to Peter Cowen, chairman of the Museum of American Finance. “Our trustees are thrilled that this and many other unique items will be with the museum to share with the public,” he remarked during the gala, adding that “we all owe a debt of gratitude to John for starting the museum.”

Wall Street Leaders Raise $1.5M for the Museum of American Finance





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