Before Trump pumped the breaks, Harriet Tubman was supposed to be the new face of the $20 bill. Now, there’s doubt about whether the Treasury will issue the bills at all. But imagine an alternate universe in which a woman graces not just one bill, but all the bills.
That’s exactly what former treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios has envisioned. In partnership with a group of women at Google, she visualized what it would look like to have a host of women from U.S. history on our bills. The project is called Notable Women, and it uses augmented reality to superimpose portraits of 100 amazing American women on bills. The women were drawn from a list that Rios helped formulate to narrow down which woman should be the next historic person featured on the $20. “I couldn’t help but think, ‘Why do we have to choose just one?’” Rios tells Fast Company via email. “Couldn’t there be some way to celebrate all of these women on our currency?”
Along with the Notable Women website, where you can scroll through and see the images of women on the dollar bill with a description of their contributions to society, Google developed an app as well. Via the app, you can point your phone’s camera at any U.S. bill and see George Washington or Abraham Lincoln or Andrew Jackson magically transform into an accomplished woman, like Wilma Mankiller (the first female chief of the Cherokee Nation), Wilma Rudolph (a sprinter who was the first American woman to win three gold medals at the Olympics), or Annie Jump Cannon (an astronomer who discovered more than 300 stars). Each portrait has been carefully tweaked to assume the look of American money portraits, fitting the style and gravitas of being on a bill.
The project is primarily designed for use in the classroom, to encourage teachers and students to highlight women’s role in the history of the country. To that end, Notable Women also includes a section for teachers, with three sets of age-appropriate lesson plans, a poster that works with the augmented reality app, and a bulletin board with images of all 100 women on the currency.
You can scroll through all the images, seeing the women and learning about their accomplishments here.