It’s all about the money. Always has been. Apparently always will be.
At least it is at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP).
The BEP prints all the Federal Reserve notes (translation: Money) at facilities in Washington DC and Ft Worth, Texas. Coins are produced by the US Mint. The BEP also prints other specialty items, including engraved White House invitations, and other security documents for various governmental agencies.
Free tours are offered at both facilities, and provide an overview of the steps in the money making process. I toured the Washington DC facility on a rainy mid-week afternoon. There were no lines, and even though the tour group dawdled a bit, it still only took about an hour to watch stacks and stacks of large pieces of paper become ready-to-be-spent hundred dollar bills. There is also a short movie which explains the process.
At the end of the tour is the requisite gift shop, where you can find treasury bills for serious collectors, as well as an assortment of novelty items.
The Washington DC facility is located at 14th & C Streets, S.W. (map) Tour times are seasonal, so check the BEP website to make your plans.
During the apring and summer season, tickets are required. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the ticket booth on Raoul Wallenberg Place on the same day only. The ticket booth opens at 8 am, and closes when all tickets have been distributed. This is a popular tour, so plan to get to the line early as tickets go fast.
The Fort Worth facility is located at 9000 Blue Mound Road (map). Check for tour availability.
Photo credit: Daquella manera @flickr