Artists take on the subject of finance for the People’s History Museum’s new exhibition Show Me the Money, opening Saturday 11 July.
Charting how the financial world has been imagined in art, illustration and photography from 1700 to the present day, the exhibition questions what money really stands for and explores its intangible nature. 

New commissions are Cornford & Cross’ ‘Black Narcissus’, which presents the fortunes of the FTSE over the course of an entire decade and Immo Klink’s ‘The Real Fight Club’, which documents the lives of individuals working in the City and bankers hard at play. 

A ‘Boom and Busts’ section, examining both British and American economies, brings a history of financial crises up to date with Simon Roberts’ ‘Credit Crunch Lexicon’. This new commission is a collation of UK newsprint, Bank of England papers, economic reports and political speeches, exploring the most common terms used since the recession hit in 2008.

 The exhibition displays an original document from the Barclay’s archive, signed by author Daniel Defoe in 1729 when he took short-term credit from bank founders, Freame and Gould. Prints by William Hogarth also feature, examining the financial crisis of 1720 and the relationship between credit and debt.

 The exhibition will also include pieces from the People’s History Museum archive, including satirical cartoons by Peter Fluck, which appeared in Labour Weekly and demonstrate the problems of soaring inflation during the 1970s. 

Dr Chris Burgess, Curator at the People’s History Museum, says, “Show Me The Money is an exciting new exhibition for the museum, with contemporary art, large installations and abstract visuals appearing amidst our historic collections. It will challenge visitors not only to learn about but to question and interpret their understanding of the economic world.

 We are a museum that celebrates ideas worth fighting for and if we pose the question ‘what has finance to do with people’s struggle for a better world?’, there is a brilliant synergy. Our society is dominated by the idea and the reality of the financial markets. These artistic responses to that reality get to the heart of a system that appears distant but has a significant impact on all of our lives”.

 As part of Show Me the Money, the People’s History Museum will be running a programme of events, including evening debates with leading academics, guest speakers and artists. Family friendly summer activities will see children learning about finance, designing currency and personalised piggy banks, and playing board games like Monopoly and Game of Life. Visitors can even download the free exhibition app to test their nerve in a stock market investment game.

 Show Me the Money: The Image of Finance, 1700 to the Present is curated by Dr Peter Knight, Manchester University, Professor Nicky Marsh, Southampton University, Dr Paul Crosthwaite, Edinburgh University and Dr Isabella Streffen, Oxford Brookes University.

 Show Me the Money is open at the People’s History Museum, Manchester, from 11 July 2015 until 24 January 2016. Find out more at


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