After almost ten years of planning, two years of closure, a global pandemic and a £6 million major capital development supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the historic Manchester Jewish Museum will finally be open to the public from Friday 2 July 2021.

Just a short walk from Victoria station, the museum proudly tells the stories of the Jewish people and communities within Manchester. Alongside this, the museum also holds the 1874 Grade II* listed synagogue building – the city’s oldest surviving synagogue – which has now been fully restored. Functioning as both a living artefact of the Jewish place of worship and a brand new cultural space, the stunning renovation is something that has to be experienced first-hand.

To mark the museum’s reopening, the venue will be welcoming visitors to a new immersive co-commission with Manchester International Festival. Turner Prize winning artist Laure Prouvost’s new installation The long waited, weighted, gathering will make its world premiere on Friday 2 July and remain in place until October, inviting attendees to experience a new film featuring stories from women who use to attend the synagogue. The film will play on a custom-built screen which will hang from the beams of the synagogue and be accompanied by a collection of new artwork created by the museum’s resident Women’s Textile Group

The museum is also proud to introduce an all-new, all-vegetarian Kosher-style cafe. The cafe will offer traditional Jewish cuisine whilst simultaneously providing a rich history of the traditions of Jewish food. With food playing a key role in the unification between cultures, it’s of no surprise that this element plays such a huge role in this new look museum. Accompanying the whole-food cafe is the Learning Kitchen – a community space where schools and other groups can cook and explore Jewish food and culture together as part of the museum’s food programme.

Meanwhile, the new gallery is equally impressive. With an extensive collection of over 31, 000 items, the museum’s dedicated space to showcase these objects will take visitors on a journey through Manchester’s rich and diverse Jewish history through the exploration of the universal themes of Journeys, Communities and Identities.

With a sustainable ethos in mind, many of the gallery’s exhibition panels have also been produced from upcycled textiles, a nod to Manchester’s 19th-century textile industry, which originally attracted Jewish migrants to the city. Additionally, the cafe is set to use locally sourced ingredients for the majority of its menu.

With the inclusion of flexible spaces to host events, community meals and functions (making links with local faith groups, schools), the museum’s community-centred approach is clearly the driving force of this impressive project. The venue has also actively created a cultural space for dialogue across differences and provides a remarkable new building that the city of Manchester should be proud to hold. To learn more, follow the link below.

Fri 2 Jul, Manchester Jewish Museum,
190 Cheetham Hill Road, Cheetham Hill, Manchester M8 8LW
Rhiannon Ingle
Published on:
Fri 2 Jul 2021