Manchester Jewish Museum


Manchester Jewish Museum at night, photo by Joel Chester Fildes

We reopened on Friday 2 July 2021 with a new building, twice the size as before.

Designed by award-winning architects, Citizens Design Bureau, our contemporary two-storey extension includes a new gallery, learning studio & kitchen, collection store, shop and café. Our beloved Grade II* listed Synagogue has also been fully restored and refurbished to its original decorative scheme.

Our Corten clad façade lights up at night like a beacon on Cheetham Hill Road, with the light shining through the intricate patterns that mirror the designs by our Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue original architect Edward Salomons.

A new gallery, designed by All Things, showcases our collection based around the universal themes of journeys, communities and identities, sharing the stories of Jewish Manchester with the world.

Manchester Jewish Museum Gallery, Joel Chester Fildes, 13 June 2021

Our new museum will be a place to experience and explore how we are different, together. We make connections to make things better.

Our Awards

Corten design, Manchester Jewish Museum, photo by Joel Chester Fildes 2021

Awards Won:

Our new building has won the following awards following our £6 million capital redevelopment supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund:

  • British Construction Industry Awards 2021: Cultural & Leisure Project of the Year
  • British Construction Industry Awards 2021: Best Small Project (under £10 million)
  • Facade Awards UK 2021: Best Use of Rainscreen Using Specialist Metal, to Include (Zinc, Copper, Brass)

Shortlisted for:

  • AJ Retrofit Finalist: Cultural and Religious Buildings
  • Blueprint Awards: Best Public-Use Project with Public Funding
  • Dezeen Awards 2021: Cultural Building
  • Civic Trust Awards 2022: National/International Project & Regional Finalist
  • Northern Design Awards 2021: Commercial Build
  • Northern Design Awards 2021: Amazing Space

Our Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue

Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue, image by Daniel Jarvis

Our Grade II* listed Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue first opened in 1874, designed by Victorian architect Edward Salomons. Originally built to serve Manchester’s Sephardi Jewish communities, the Synagogue was designed and decorated to reflect the Spanish and Portuguese heritage of the communities that worshipped there. In 1984 the now former synagogue was converted into Manchester Jewish Museum, to preserve both the building and Manchester’s rich Jewish history.

The synagogue has been fully renovated and restored to serve as both a living artefact of a historic Sephardi place of worship and as a stunning cultural events space. We consider our synagogue to be the heart of our museum – a breathtakingly beautiful space in which you can take time to reflect and absorb the history that surrounds you. Oral histories throughout the synagogue share memories of the people who once attended the synagogue, filling the space with authentic Sephardi voices as they recall their experiences.

Find out more about this remarkable building’s history below.

Find out more about our Synagogue

Our museum through the ages

Synagogue exterior, 1900s

Museum exterior, pre-extenstion

Museum extension design

Inside the Synagogue, 1900s

Manchester Jewish Museum exterior, 2021

Manchester Jewish Museum exterior, May 2021

Inside the Synagogue, 2021

Designing a ‘place for conversation’

As we look ahead to our reopening later this year, architect Katy Marks from Citizens Design Bureau speaks to Architect’s Journal about her inspiration and process for creating a museum that reflects the diversity of Manchester’s Jewish communities and creates a space for sharing and connection.

“Great care has been taken to reflect the diversity of Jewish communities in Manchester: diversity of religious practice, language, wealth and politics. There is huge political, social and religious diversity in Manchester and this museum is exciting in that it doesn’t speak with one voice or represent a definitive version of a singular Jewish community. The museum will invite conversations on migration, refugees and being an outsider in a new place. The architecture is designed explicitly to reflect that.”  Katy Marks, Citizens Design Bureau

Corten and the New Museum

You may have spotted the rust-coloured façade of our new museum extension if you’ve driven down Cheetham Hill Road recently, but what is it?

The answer is Corten (also called COR-TEN, aka ‘weathered steel’). This beautiful copper-coloured material is the corrosion resistant cladding on our new extension, etched with intricate and ornate patterns (more information on our designs and their inspiration to come). Designed by our architects, Citizens Design Bureau, the corten beautifully compliments the slate roofing and red brick of our original 1874 synagogue building.

Read more about corten, including our top 5 other corten buildings in Manchester.