US currency redesign draws attention to Tubman Museum

MACON, Ga. (AP) -- A plan for Harriet Tubman to be the new face of the $20 bill is being seen as a boost for the Macon museum bearing her name.

The U.S. Treasury recently announced that Tubman, a former slave who helped others escape the horrors of slavery, will be featured on the new bills.

Officials at the museum are thrilled at the development, said Melanie Byas, the Tubman Museum's marketing director.

"We're really proud for this country and excited," she said.

Various news outlets including CBS News called officials at the Tubman Museum after the announcement was made, The Telegraph reported.

Though the Macon museum isn't filled with Tubman's belongings, a temporary exhibit on the first floor features historic photographs of Tubman, a life-size sculpture and other artifacts connected with her life. The display was set to only last through the summer.

"I wouldn't be surprised if it ... is here a little bit longer than originally planned," Byas said.

Beverly Hart Pittman, 68, and her husband, Ezell Pittman, from Columbia, South Carolina, visited the museum Wednesday afternoon. The couple learned of the $20 bill redesign while chatting in the gift shop.

"I just think she's worthy of any recognition because of the contributions she's made, because of the movement she was involved in and because she is a female in particular," Beverly Pittman said.

"Who better to put on any bill?," she added. "We all benefit for her involvement in the movement. Sometimes we tend to stay too focused, but it's just like the civil rights movement. America benefited."

The museum's founder, Richard Keil, said he named it after Tubman because he "just always thought that she was a very extremely notable and strong, brave and intelligent person who gave her life for the country."

The redesign of the $20 bill marks the first time an African American will appear on U.S. paper money and the first woman depicted on bills in the past 100 years. Former first lady Martha Washington appeared on a dollar silver certificate from 1891-1896. The only other woman ever featured on U.S. paper money was Pocohontas. Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea are featured on dollar coins.