Manchester Jewish Museum takes up temporary home at Central Library

The UK’s only Jewish museum outside of London is getting a revamp and will take temporary home at Manchester Central Library until then.

Manchester Jewish Museum will be temporarily moving to Manchester Central Library while the museum’s historic Cheetham Hill building is renovated.

The pop-up museum will be located on the lower ground floor of Central Library, near to the Children’s Library. The museum will be open to the public from Tuesday July 16, with the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, publicly declaring the museum open the day before.

Museum objects, historic photographs and recordings will go on display at Central Library to tell and share the story of Jewish Manchester.

Visitors will also be able to explore the museum’s vast collection via an ‘Object Selection Machine’, designed by artist Kirsty Harris. The interactive machine will include a 1940s kosher ration book and a World War One policeman’s truncheon.

“We’re thrilled to be moving into such a busy and prestigious venue as Central Library,” said Max Dunbar, Chief Executive of Manchester Jewish Museum.

“With over 1.5million library users a year, we will be able to share the stories of Jewish Manchester with even more people, building up excitement ahead of our grand re-opening in 2021.”

JEWISH MANCHESTER: The museum’s move to the centre of town is an exciting opportunity for people to learn more about the rich history of Jews in the North West

During its residency at Central Library, the museum will also run community outreach programmes in Manchester where food, music and storytelling activities will be held in community centres, museums and libraries across the region.

A ‘synagogue in a box’ will be taken out to schools where children will be able to use arts and crafts to create their own bespoke synagogues and learn about Jewish faith.

The museum’s Cheetham Hill building will see a £5 redevelopment, funded largely by a grant by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The ex-synagogue building will reopen in 2021 as part of plans to become a community hub.

The extension will create extra space to house the 30,000 objects that form the museum’s collection and include Torah scrolls hidden from the Nazis during WWII.

The redevelopment will also create new learning and community studio spaces and improved visitor facilities, including a Jewish café serving Jewish specialities such as hot salt beef bagels and potato latkes.

Main image courtesy of Jan Chelbik3, with thanks.

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