Manchester Jewish Museum Temporarily Relocates to Central Library


Manchester Jewish Museum temporarily relocates to Central Library while lottery-funded renovations at the former synagogue get underway.


Manchester Jewish Museum has announced it is moving temporarily into the basement of Manchester Central Library as building work starts on the major extension of its historic Cheetham Hill building – thanks in part to £2.89 million National Lottery Heritage funding.

The museum will close for two years to allow for the extensive building transformation. During this time, the museum will move its collections into the city centre – creating an interactive pop-up Jewish Museum in the centre of Manchester for the very first time.

Located on the Lower Ground Floor of Central Library, the pop-up museum will be near the Children’s Library and next to the Ahmed Iqbal Ullah Race Relations Resource Centre. Museum staff and volunteers will also be based there.

Museum objects, historic photographs and recordings will go on display at the library to tell and share the story of Jewish Manchester. An ‘object selection machine’ designed by artist Kirsty Harris will enable visitors to interact with and explore the museum’s collection. Objects inside the machine will include a World War One policemen’s truncheon, a 19th century muff maker and a 1940s kosher ration book.

Alongside the ‘object selection machine’ will be a ‘synagogue in a box’. Designed for schools visiting the library, children will use art and craft materials to transform the library space into their own bespoke synagogues and, in the process, learn about the Jewish faith and worship.

While based in Central Library, the museum will also be running a community outreach programme across Greater Manchester. Food, music and storytelling activities will be held in community centres, museums and libraries across the region. The ‘synagogue in a box’ will also be taken out to schools, giving children the opportunity to transform their classrooms into their very own bespoke synagogues.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham will be opening the pop-up Jewish Museum on 15th July – which will then be open to the general public from 16th July. Commenting on the move to Central Library, Museum Chief Executive, Max Dunbar, said: “We’re thrilled to be moving into such a busy and prestigious venue as Central Library. 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.

We’re extremely grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Arts Council England and Manchester City Council for making this move possible.”