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Financial education 14 Jun 2017

This is MIDE, the first museum in the world that teaches the public how to manage money

A beautiful 18th Century building houses the world´s first museum dedicated to explaining topics in economics, finance and sustainable development: The Interactive Museum of the Economy (MIDE). This institution, founded in 2008, has become a benchmark, because of its way of bringing the world of finance closer, in an entertaining and interactive way.

At MIDE, there are no oil paintings, no period costumes, no papyrus. A walk through its halls, which usually takes a few hours, is a stimulating experience, full of emotions and learning, where technology is very much present. Its director, Sylvia Singer, has given a fresh and innovative vision to the museum: “We are a 19th Century museum that uses dialogue and collective participation to reflect on relevant concepts and processes of economy, finance, sustainable development, innovation and wellbeing. A secure space in which to have difficult, honest and fruitful conversations”.

Sylvia Singer: “We are a 19th Century museum that uses dialogue and collective participation to reflect on relevant concepts and processes of economy, finance, sustainable development, innovation and wellbeing”

A biologist by training, Singer had previously been the head of the science museums of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). But her great challenge was to lead the beginnings of a museum that, when it was created, was unique in the world. “We have built it little by little, starting with careful, rigorous planning, using a methodology of our own design, with practicing, with experience. The content that we offer has been carefully prepared, in collaboration with advisors of the highest level and proposals subject to a program of constant evaluation”.

Its installations invite the visitors, particularly the youngest ones, to discover the importance of the economy, finance and sustainable development. “Our programs in financial education are different from those of other institutions, precisely because in them, we apply the techniques of interactive design that have been successful in the museum: short texts, with examples from the daily lives of the users, always oriented to having the participant make decisions to test different scenarios and in that way, evaluate their importance,” explains MIDE’s director, Sylvia Singer.

MIDE 1, financial education

The objective of the museum is to make visitors ask themselves if they are doing things correctly or not, and to share their experiences with others. With this philosophy, the museum has managed to attract  young public, since 85% of the visitors have an average age of between 15 and 25 years. “We integrate the newest pedagogical techniques into our work, the advances in the understanding of behavioral economics and the new languages and technologies that the young people who visit us and who are our target public, are currently using”.

We integrate the newest pedagogical techniques into our work, the advances in the understanding of behavioral economics and the new languages and technologies that the young people are currently using”

MIDE’s activity is global and is not directed exclusively at young people. “Our Educational Forum magnifies the impact of the museum by organizing activities, more than 40 every year, that permit our users to delve deeper into financial and economic topics, or simply to train themselves in the use of the instruments of financial mediation” says Silvia Singer.

However, its principal objective is the education of people who have their entire lives before them and who should not miss opportunities because they lacked financial knowledge. For them, the museum works as a complement to school, but never a substitute. “More than educators, we think of ourselves as builders of significant, memorable and impacting experiences, in an effort to transform the point of  view of our audiences”.

MIDE has set a precedent. In the world today, there is a network of museums dedicated to finance, which are part of the International Federation of Finance Museums (IFFM), founded in 2013, of which the Mexician museum is a member. Its mission is to provide a framework so that the museums collaborate, share exhibits and interchange scholarships and resources for schools, along with information and knowledge.

The attendees at Edufin Summit 2017, on June 15 and 16 will have the opportunity to visit the MIDE facilities as a complement to the talks and presentations during the annual event. At the BBVA Center for Financial Education and Capabilities you will find all the relevant information about financial education around the world.

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