Shortly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February 2022, Ellen Feingold, curator of the National Numismatic Collection (NNC) at the National Museum of American History, collected a banknote featuring a dove in flight with a flag and olive branch clasped in its beak, strikingly outlined in Ukraine’s national colors of blue and gold. A German aid organization created the note, known as the “Peace for Ukraine” zero-euro note, as a fundraiser for victims of Russian aggression in Ukraine. Although Ukraine is not part of the eurozone (the geopolitical union of nations that use the euro as their official currency), the use of the euro design honors Ukraine’s sovereignty and reflects its kinship with the nations of the European Union.
The note inspired Ellen to dig into the National Numismatic Collection’s vault to trace Ukraine’s long and complex history, as well as the formation of its national identity, through money. The result of that research was Ukraine’s Distinct History, a physical and virtual display that uses money to tell the story of Ukraine’s origins, diverse population, and distinct history over more than a thousand years.
Read more here: How Medieval Money Shaped Ukraine’s Modern Identity