Manchester Jewish Museum set for 2021 reopening

The Manchester Jewish Museum has closed this week for two years, in order to deliver a £5m refurbishment, adding a two-storey extension and restoring the grade two-listed synagogue.

The proposals will expand the building by 4,900 sq ft to provide more space for exhibitions reflecting on Jewish history and culture.

The redevelopment aims to create a “brighter, more harmonious future” for the museum. The design, drafted by architects at Citizens Design Bureau, will include a revamped foyer and welcome experience, a modern display gallery that can hold the majority of the museum’s 30,000 item collection, a multi-purpose learning area, a reduced archive, but one that is more visible to the public and modern staff facilities, as well as a refurbished, scaled-down representation of the original 1874 synagogue.

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So far the museum has received a £2.9m grant from the National Lottery and is attempting to match that funding itself, having currently reached a total of £1.5m. The development requires a further £500,000 in order to proceed. The National Lottery also provided nearly £430,000 towards the design and planning process.

Chief executive for the museum, Max Dunbar said: “We’re excited about the future, this project will enable us to showcase Manchester’s rich Jewish history.”

As well as improving the museum’s capabilities, the extension seeks to expand its audience, seen in the emphasis on a “welcoming” entrance, which is hoped to highlight that Manchester Jewish Museum is for everyone, and is not exclusively a synagogue.

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