Curator of the National Numismatic Collection
Dr. Ellen Feingold is the curator of the National Numismatic Collection (NNC), a global collection of approximately 1.6 million objects that span more than 5,000 years. Her areas of expertise include:
- History of money and monetary objects
- History of counterfeiting and forgery
- Imperial and global history, focusing on mechanisms of colonial rule and the process of decolonization
- History of the common law and legal institutions in sub-Saharan Africa
Education And Training
Feingold received her DPhil in History and MSc in Economic and Social History from the University of Oxford. As a student, Feingold held the Clarendon Scholarship, John Roberts Scholarship, Beit Research Scholarship, and Designated Research Studentship in Modern History. She received numerous grants in support of her doctoral research on the development and decolonization of the High Court of Tanzania. She was also awarded a special prize from the Robert Herbert Memorial Fund for her research on the history of the British Colonial Legal Service.
After completing her doctorate, Ellen joined the Department of Coins and Medals at the British Museum as a Project Curator for the Money in Africa project. She was a co-curator of a display on mobile money in Africa in the Citi Money Gallery in 2013. Feingold became curator of the Smithsonian's National Numismatic Collection in 2014.
Feingold's research interests include the history of money and monetary objects, counterfeiting and forgery, and legal institutions and the administration of justice in sub-Saharan Africa. She is author of Colonial Justice and Decolonization in the High Court of Tanzania, 1920-1971 (2018) and The Value of Money (2015), as well as the curator of the exhibit of the same name at the National Museum of American History. Her recent work has appeared in the Journal of West African History, Economic History of Developing Regions, Politico Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, and the Huffington Post.
In 2021, Feingold received the Elvira Clain-Stefanelli Memorial Award for Achievement in Numismatics.
Awards And Honors
- Feingold, Ellen. 2021. "A Harriet Tubman $20? That's Just the Beginning." Politico Magazine, Feb 15, 2021, 2021
- Feingold, Ellen, Fourie, Johan, and Gardner, Leigh. 2021. "A tale of paper and gold: The material history of money in South Africa." Economic History of Developing Regions, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1080/20780389.2021.1926232. 2021
- Feingold, Ellen and Gardner, Leigh. 2020. "Research-Led Digitization: Inverting the Usual Way of Thinking about Digitization." Perspectives on History, 58, (8). 2020
- Feingold, Ellen, Gloede, Jennifer, Pearce Seigerman, Emily, Wiggins, Kelsey, and York, Hillery. 2018. "One coin, two coin, old coin, new coin: Searching for Dr. Seuss in the National Numismatic Collection." O Say Can You See? Stories from the National Museum of American History Washington, DC: Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Mar 1, 2018. http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/dr-seuss-coins;. 2018
- Feingold, Ellen. 2017. "Exploring connections between the U.S. and East Asia through the Howard F. Bowker Numismatic Collection." O Say Can You See? Stories from the National Museum of American History Washington, DC: Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Nov 8, 2017. http://americanhistory.si.edu/blog/east-asia-bowker-collection. 2017
- Feingold, Ellen. 2015. The Value of Money. Washington DC: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press. 2015
- Feingold, Ellen R., Pfisterer, Abby, Serrano, Orlando R., Jr., and Weicksel, Sarah. 2022. Working Together: New Approaches to a History Exhibition for Children. AHA Perspectives on History. Dec 15, 2022 American Historical Association. 2022
- National Museum of American History Department