Smithsonian Institution announced that they were looking for volunteers to help them digitize their collection thereby giving a chance for the public to interact with these proofs and to unleash the history from the thousands of historical documents.

Under its recent project, rapid capture digitization project, the institute is working on digitizing the currency proofs. The rapid capture technique applied for digitization has cut the total turnaround time which would otherwise take a year or more. This new collection of currency proofs will lead to new understanding about the history.

The National Museum of American History has 139 pages of certified currency proofs of the District of Columbia that need to be transcribed. The contents of each proof contains a multitude of information that gives an apt portrait of America from 1863-1935. The notes in the collection were saved at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing until the early ’70s, where they were transferred to the Smithsonian. The Institute’s Division of Numismatics holds about 350,000 proofs of currency, bonds, revenue stamps, checks, commissions, awards, food stamps, and food coupons.”

For this project, transcribers have completed 6,561 pages, each with information about what bank and city the sheet is from, what date the original plate was made, and other numismatic details.

bank note proof

Via the Smithsonian Institute

“We have unlocked the ability to do this efficiently and at a price that was unheard of before,” Rahaim adds. “Digitizing a whole collection, it was an abstract concept, but these processes are now making that a reality.”