London Jewish Museum to close historical Camden site

The Jewish Museum London has announced that it will close this summer and sell its building in Camden, as it develops longer-term plans to reopen in a more prominent location.

In a statement, it said that “unanticipated rising costs” have prevented it from producing temporary exhibitions post-Covid. “The board’s decision also reflects the need to make the museum more sustainable into the future,” it added.

Founded in 1932 in Bloomsbury, the museum moved to its current building, a Grade II Georgian town house connected to a former piano factory, in 2010. It displays the UK’s nationally designated collection of judaica, as well as collections from the Jewish Military Museum, United Synagogue and Jewish Historical Society of England. These collections will move to specialised storage, with online access available to researchers.

In a statement, the museum said its collections and learning teams’ work would continue. More details on its transition plans will be announced in due course, but it is in consultation with partners to explore temporary exhibition and education spaces.

Funds from the sale of the building will contribute towards the new museum site and future capital campaign. “This will bring to reality the museum’s centenary vision of developing a more modern, engaging and inspiring visitor experience in a new, more prominent location,” it said.  

Nick Viner, chair of Jewish Museum London, said: “As we approach our centenary, Jewish Museum London is at a crossroads. We have an extraordinary opportunity to re-envisage the museum for the future.

“Our decision to sell the current building is not taken lightly, but as trustees it’s our responsibility to consider the longer-term sustainability of the museum. As the collection leaves Albert Street for a new temporary home, it will also create opportunities to experiment, as we develop the new vision for Jewish Museum London together with all our stakeholders.”

Tonya Nelson, London area director for the arts council, said: “We know how important Jewish Museum London’s collection is to the museums sector and the British Jewish community. We want to ensure that the nationally outstanding collection is preserved and accessible for generations to come and continue to work closely with the museum to make sure this happens.

“We are aware of the challenges being experienced by Jewish Museum London and are working closely with the board, the leadership team and stakeholders to support the museum as it addresses its financial resilience and determines the options available to them.” 

The museum said it is also in dialogue with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which provided valuable initial support for the development of the building, as well as subsequent funding, about further support for its plans.


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