Chief executive and chair to step down from Manchester Jewish Museum - Museums Association

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Chief executive and chair to step down from Manchester Jewish Museum

Pair hand over the reins after leading on £6m redevelopment
Manchester Jewish Museum chief executive Max Dunbar (centre) and chair of trustees Andrew Singer QC (right) accompanied by Rob Smith from H.H. Smith & Sons in front of the new Manchester Jewish Museum before its reopening in July 2021
Manchester Jewish Museum chief executive Max Dunbar (centre) and chair of trustees Andrew Singer QC (right) accompanied by Rob Smith from H.H. Smith & Sons in front of the new Manchester Jewish Museum before its reopening in July 2021 Image by Chris Payne

Manchester Jewish Museum's chief executive Max Dunbar and chair of trustees Andrew Singer have announced that they are stepping down to allow new leaders to take the organisation “on the next stage of its journey”.

Dunbar will leave at the end of December after more than 10 years at the museum. He will begin a new position on the development team at the University of Manchester, where he will support fundraising for the university's cultural institutions.

Singer chaired his final trustee meeting in October after more than 14 years on the board and nine years as chair.

Together Dunbar and Singer led the institution through a period of significant change, culminating in the launch of the new museum in July following a £6m capital redevelopment.

A statement from the museum said: “After over 10 years of planning and seeing the new museum through from conception to opening its doors, both Max and Andrew felt that the time was right to open the doors for someone new to come in and grow the museum as it undertakes the next exciting stage of its journey.”

Recruitment for a new chief executive is open now, with a deadline of 17 January 2022.

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Current head of programmes Gareth Redston will step up as interim chief executive to steer the organisation through the next few months. Trustee Richard Chapman will act as interim chair of the board of trustees while the position is advertised and recruited for in early 2022, along with a number of other trustee roles.

Dunbar said: “Leaving after so many years was never going to be easy, but now the new building is open and, I’m delighted to say, buzzing with activity, it feels like the right time to step aside and let someone new lead this incredible organisation into the future. I am excited to continue to support Manchester’s cultural organisations at the University of Manchester in my new role.

“It has been a privilege to lead the museum during its transformation and through such an important period of its history. I am so proud of everything we have achieved and want to express my profound gratitude to our supporters, our contractors, our trustees, our visitors and most of all the staff and volunteers at the museum. They have all shaped what the museum is today and made us an invaluable and rich contribution to the history and culture of this great city.”

Singer said: “It certainly was difficult for me to step down after serving as a trustee and chairing the board through these crucial last few years. To see the new museum open and impressing so many visitors coming through our doors fills me with enormous pride and gratitude for the efforts of so many people and supporters.”

Nicholas Serota, the chair of Arts Council England, said: “Manchester Jewish Museum has been an invigorating addition to Arts Council England’s National Portfolio. Their aim to be a place of connection and change underpins everything they do, from their exciting opening programme to their exhibition sharing the stories of Jewish Manchester with the world, and even their cafe menu.

“The ambition to realise the potential of the museum by completing a major capital development has been a fine example of how an organisation can respond to the needs of its communities. Max Dunbar and Andrew Singer have made an enduring addition to Manchester’s cultural offering, and the city is all the richer for it.”

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