Jewish Museum £10m makeover almost complete

By Robyn Rosen, February 18, 2010
Exhibits ready for display in the galleries of the Jewish Museum, which opens next month after a £10m refit

Exhibits ready for display in the galleries of the Jewish Museum, which opens next month after a £10m refit

Finishing touches are being applied to the £10 million refurbishment of the Jewish Museum in Camden.

The state-of-the-art building will open to the public on March 17 with four permanent galleries and another for temporary exhibitions, a 100-seat auditorium, education space, café and shop. It will be three times the size of the previous space, combining its Albert Street premises with an adjacent former piano factory.

Building work began over two years ago and the project has benefited from a £4.2 million lottery grant.

Museum director Rickie Burman said the team had faced the challenge of "how to reflect the Jewish community today in all its diversity.

"We have picked wider themes which everyone can relate to and are relevant to today's society such as what it's like to be an immigrant and make your home in a new country.

"There is also an emphasis on personal stories. Britain is made up of lots of stories and Jewish people are a part of that.

"We also have to challenge prejudice and stereotypes and show the spectrum of the community."

The four permanent display areas include the Welcome Gallery, a multimedia exhibit of the stories of 10 modern-day Jews, and Judaism: A Living Faith, a showcase of Judaica. The others are History: A British Story, featuring displays covering immigration over the past two centuries, and the Holocaust Gallery, exploring Nazism though the experiences and personal effects of Auschwitz survivor Leon Greenman.

All galleries have interactive elements, from an immigration game to Yiddish theatre karaoke.

"We hope this will be a place families will come and experience together," Ms Burman added. "There is a real relevance for the Jewish community but also for the wider community. We can showcase the Jewish experience to everyone."

Last updated: 11:34am, February 19 2010