The museum dedicated to Jewish stories of migration, communities and identities is set to reopen on 2nd July for the first time since 2019. This follows the completion of a comprehensive £6 million extension, restoration and redevelopment to the site in the city’s Cheetham Hill area.
Visitors can expect to explore the museum’s collection of over 31,000 artefacts in a building now housing a new gallery space, café, shop, and an innovative learning studio and kitchen. This in addition to the site’s freshly restored 1874 Grade II* listed synagogue – the oldest still standing in Manchester.
Designs for the building were drawn up by Citizens Design Bureau, with all major decisions made in consultation with the museum’s local communities.
“After years of planning, fundraising and consultations, plus a global pandemic to navigate through, we cannot believe we are finally here, ready to show the city and the world our beautiful museum,” states Max Dunbar, CEO of Manchester Jewish Museum.
“We really feel we have something special and unique to share with everyone. Our magnificently restored synagogue is a rare gem and is in itself a living artefact telling the story of Jewish migration from the 1870s. It will sit alongside our contemporary extension, the design of which has been inspired by our synagogue’s stunning Moorish architecture.”
The museum’s new gallery space, designed by All Things Studio, will exhibit many items never before displayed to the public. The multi-purpose learning studio and kitchen is also central to the organisation’s vision, with spaces reserved for schools, community groups and local businesses to explore Jewish culture through baking, cooking, eating and sharing traditional recipes.
Sticking with the gastronomic theme, a café serving locally sourced and kosher style vegetarian food will be another way the museum hopes to draw in visitors. Combining tasty dishes with education regarding Jewish dietary laws will be integral to the new eatery’s mission.
Around half of the overall project’s spend was provided by a grant from National Lottery Heritage Fund, meaning a plethora of specialist contractors could be employed to ensure all work undertaken at the historic site was accurately and sensitively completed.
Sustainable features have also been carefully integrated into both the new and original museum buildings in order to deliver longevity and a reduction in carbon intensity, all while honouring the site’s listed status.
More information on the redevelopment of Manchester Jewish Museum can be found here.