Have you ever looked closely at what is on a quarter? Look at the pictures of the quarters shown below. These quarters are artifacts. Artifacts are physical objects made by people. They can provide information about the way people lived and thought at the time they were made.
Source: Courtesy of the U.S. Mint, Department of the Treasury.
Starting in January 1999, the U.S. quarter had a new design for the first time since 1976. That month, the United States released the first quarter in its “50 State Quarters” program. In this program, a unique quarter will be designed for each state. The new state quarters show something special about the state, the year that the state joined the United States, and the year that the quarter was made.
Florida's quarter represents exploration and tourism, two important industries for Floridians. The Spanish galleon from the 16th century and the space shuttle represent two types of exploration. The beach and palm trees show a part of Florida that attracts tourists.
California's quarter focuses on the environment. It shows John Muir, a conservationist who spent his life working to protect the environment. It also shows a large rock known as the Half Dome from Yosemite National Park, as well as the California condor, which was once nearly extinct.
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You can look at these and other state quarters on the U.S. Mint's Web site.