The gallery is named in recognition of Michael C. Ruettgers, whose generosity has made possible the creation of this spectacular installation. In addition, Mr. Ruettgers has given fourteen rare and important Roman gold coins to the MFA, including Aureus with bust of Aelius Verus (AD 137). Drawing from the Museum’s collection of approximately 7,500 ancient coins, the gallery’s thematic and chronological displays emphasize ancient coins as highly sophisticated, beautiful works of art on a miniature scale, while also exploring the cultural and political history they embody. Sculpture, vases, and other works of art are on view alongside coins in the gallery. Visitors can "create" their own coins in a touch screen activity—choosing symbols, motto, and metal—allowing them to learn the elements of a coin by designing one. The gallery also includes a case filled with coins acquired over the past several years, as the Museum continues to collect coins of the highest quality and appeal.
Developed exclusively for the coin gallery, a free iPad application allows visitors to zoom and pan through a multitude of coins, as well as flip them over for a detailed view.