Numismatics workshop for City As Lab

On 11 January, 2019, we conducted our first outreach workshop of the new year. We partnered once again with City As Lab (you can read about our previous workshops with them here) to introduce school-going children to one of the genres from our collection. This time we focused on numismatics, the study of currency. Ancient and historic coins form a significant portion of Sarmaya's archive. The workshop was held at the office of the Ministry for Environment, Forests & Climate Change in Delhi and it was conducted by our Experience & Outreach Associate Mitisha Mehta, who started by introducing the children to out-of-circulation Indian coins in various metals and of different denominations. The children, who had gathered from different schools in Delhi to work on a project for City As Lab, got to handle a few of the coins and study the rarer, more precious ones on the screen set up for our presentation. Mitisha shared with them a brief history of Indian, especially Mughal, coinage, and explained how information on mints, rulers and empires could be gleaned from examining the face of a coin. After this, the children collected stationery supplies and got to work on creating their own currency! They were encouraged to interpret the message of their City As Lab project in the design of the coins. These projects are typically civic-minded explorations of how a city runs and how its problems can be solved by communities as a whole. The children used their imagination to talk about issues like sexual harassment, menstrual hygiene and disappearing green cover in urban areas, using emblems and short inscriptions like the kind found on coins. One student surprised us by making up his own script and inscribing his coin with a cryptic message that only he could decipher! The workshop was held in two batches of about 40 students each and it was such a hit that the teachers accompanying the students expressed an interest in partnering with Sarmaya to bring fun workshops like these to their schools. We're only too happy to make that happen!