Jewish Museum cuts award-winning exhibitions scheme as interim chair announced

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Jewish Museum cuts award-winning exhibitions scheme as interim chair announced

Organisation announces forthcoming redundancies and departure of long-standing chair Lord Young, as it outlines a 'refocusing' towards online education

Jewish Museum London's front building
Jewish Museum London's front building

The Jewish Museum in London is to cut its award-winning temporary exhibitions programme two months after saying it “continues to play an important part”.

The announcement of a “pause” follow suggestions earlier this year that the museum’s former chief executive Abigail Morris resigned when she heard of plans to end the exhibitions programme, for which the museum became known.

Asked by Jewish News about its plans in March, a spokeswoman said: “Our temporary exhibition programme continues to be an important part of the museum”.

This week it announced forthcoming redundancies, an interim director, the departure of long-standing chair Lord Young, as well as future plans, in which the institution said it was “refocusing” its programme to online education.

The museum’s treasurer Tanya Persey has been appointed as interim chair. She praised Lord Young for his contribution, while announcing the promotion of learning and engagement director Frances Jeens to lead the museum on an interim basis.

Its online learning programme is expected to serve teachers, families, community groups and mental health charities, with the coronavirus lockdown being blamed for the “temporary pause” in the acclaimed exhibitions programme.

Announcing the future launch of virtual classrooms, the museum said it was “planning a number of redundancies” in an effort to “put the organisation on a more sustainable financial footing”.

Weeks before the national lockdown was announced, the museum said it would be reducing opening hours and closing the café.

This week Jeens said: “The museum was already preparing a new direction to make it more financially sustainable. In choosing to refocus work, we have had to make the difficult decision to restructure the organisation, and to make some redundancies. It is a great regret that we cannot retain all our talented staff to deliver the next phase.”

Persey said the trustees “believe that the new engagement model, with a greater focus on the learning and engagement programmes, is the best response to the current situation, and will provide the foundation for a resilient and sustainable organisation in the future”.

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