Museum pieces find new home during Manchester redevelopment

Items from Manchester Jewish Museum will be displayed in Central Library pop-up while permanent premises are closed for reconstruction


Manchester Jewish Museum will close its historic Cheetham Hill building at the end of the month in advance of a major extension, funded partly by a £2.89 million Lottery grant.

But although it will be shut for two years, a number of exhibits will be displayed at a pop-up in the basement of Manchester Central Library from mid-July, bringing its collection to a wider audience.

As well as objects, photos and recordings, an “object selection machine” designed by artist Kirsty Harris will allow visitors to interact with museum items.

The objects will include a First World War policemen’s truncheon and a 1940s’ kosher ration book.

Also planned is a “synagogue in a box” designed for school visits. Pupils will use arts and crafts materials to transform the library space into their own bespoke shuls and, in the process, learn about Judaism.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham will open the pop-up on July 15 and it will be open to the general public from the following day.

“We’re thrilled to be moving into such a busy and prestigious venue,” museum chief executive Max Dunbar said.

“We will be able to share the stories of Jewish Manchester with even more people, building up excitement ahead of our grand reopening in 2021.”

The development project at the permanent site will restore the Grade II* listed former Sephardi synagogue to its original architectural splendour. It will also double the museum’s size, creating a new gallery, café, shop and learning studio.

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