Manchester Jewish Museum has confirmed it’s reopening date following a major capital development redesign and extension.

After a long period of planning and work the brand new museum will open with a gallery, cafe, shop and learning studio and kitchen.  Works have also been completed to restore the 1874 Spanish and Portuguese synagogue.  The work has been supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and follows the closure of the synagogue and museum to the public in 2019 to undergo the £6m extension, restoration and redevelopment project.

Located in Cheetham Hill, Manchester Jewish Museum will reopen on Friday 2 July 2021.

As well as the brand new exhibition space and restored synagogue, the museum will also launch a series of events and activities from the summer.

Manchester Jewish Museum houses more than 31,000 objects.  The museum’s collection ranges from personal letters and photographs through to a Herring chopper, a Russian washboard used as a cricket bat, an English/Hebrew teapot, a suppository mould and even a ceremonial trowel from 1857.  Many of these items will go on display for the very first time in the new gallery.  The collection will bring to life forgotten and previously untold personal accounts and experiences of Manchester’s diverse Jewish communities.

The Jewish Museum, Manchester, houses the oldest surviving synagogue in Manchester.  Built in 1874, the synagogue is now a Grade II* listed building, and is at the heart of the only Jewish museum outside of London.

During the museum’s closure and lockdown, the museum has continued to engage audiences through a pop-up museum in Manchester Central Library.   Other events have included a trailblazer digital season with an online drag quiz and an online dining and storytelling experience.

When does Manchester Jewish Museum reopen?

Manchester Jewish Museum will reopen from Friday 2 July with a co-commission forming part of this year’s Manchester International Festival.  Further details of the co-commission are expected to be announced at the end of April.

Speaking about Manchester Jewish Museum’s restoration and reopening, Max Dunbar, CEO of Manchester Jewish Museum, said, “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. 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. In addition to a new world-class exhibition space, our extension boasts a café and a learning kitchen where Jewish culture can be experienced and shared through food. On behalf of everyone at the museum, I’d like to thank all the incredible funders, supporters, partners and project team for getting us to this important moment, at a time when a museum designed to bring people together is now needed more than ever.”

image of Manchester Jewish Museum courtesy Chris Payne