There seems to be a case of reinventing history not only in our education system but it appears to have come to the redesign of U.S. currency. After the Bureau of Engraving and Printing announced the release of the new $100 Federal Reserve Note, Newsweek performed a study on the evolution of the images that have appeared on US currency.
“Over time, America’s iconic forefathers come off looking good, even better than they used to—and it’s not just some airbrushing and smoothing out,” the article stated. “Put simply, if the Founders and their notable descendants lived in modern times, they might find themselves on magazine covers beside words like ‘nip and tuck.’”
Newsweek asked Dr. David Hidalgo, a New York-based plastic surgeon, to analyze pictures of the changes as if these were the images of patients. In his analysis, Dr. Hidalgo noted changes to the images as they the notes have been redesigned. The most dramatic may be the image of Alexander Hamilton, the nation’s first Secretary of the Treasury, that might have taken ten years off his look.
Unlike changes to US coinage, the BEP is not required to have their designs approved by the Commission of Fine Arts. The CFA is supposed to maintain the artistic integrity of the projects they examine but they are also supposed to consider the historical significance of the images. Although it is fair to question whether the CFA would make the same mistakes as the BEP, it can be safe to say that an external review may have been a good idea.