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TO JULY 23
So you want to be a millionaire? Who doesn’t? For those of you unable to keep the cash flowing, it’s time for a little creativity. If you put whatever pittance you have in your bank account aside, round up just a few worldly possessions, and time-warp yourself into 15th-century Africa, you’ll soon be skipping down the path to material wealth. Take your average computer desk, coffee table, or night stand, for example. A skilled carpenter of the Liberian Kru people could have easily transformed such bulky wooden furniture into elegantly designed money rings and anklets. (An Mbole anklet from the Democratic Republic of the Congo is pictured.) Or, you could reach into your tool shed for a few abandoned hoe blades. Don’t worry about the rust; in old Nigeria, you’d be all set to trade for a canoe or pay a brideprice. Next, proceed to your jewelry box; your colorful glass beads that don’t quite match anything else could be worth untold amounts to precolonial Africans. Your doormats and rugs could be used to pay fines to the Kuba people of the Congo. And never underestimate the value of your household condiments. If you stock up on salt—lots of salt—and boil it down into a hardened slab, you’ll be ready to roam Ethiopian soil. If you can’t get your time machine to work, at least visit “The Artistry of African Currency,” where you can, at the very least, barter your goods for some wishful thinking. On view from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily, to Sunday, July 23, at the National Museum of African Art, 950 Independence Ave. SW. Free. (202) 357-4600. (Ayesha Morris)