Jewish Museum London

Jewish Museum London appoints Interim Director, strengthens online education offer

Image: © Benedict Johnson Photography

Frances Jeens has been appointed interim director of Jewish Museum London at a point when Covid-19 disruption has made the organisation re-evaluate staffing levels and the importance of its educational programme.

In light of the crisis instigated by coronavirus – both for museums and the education system – Jewish Museum London has confirmed it will now work even more closely with partner organisations to develop its online learning programme.

This, the Museum states, will be tailored to best serve the needs of teachers, families, community groups and mental health charities alike.

Frances Jeens, who has played a pivotal role in delivering the Museum’s Learning programme for over 7 years, has been deemed a perfect appointment as interim director while the institution is aiming to put education front and centre of its offer.

A schoolgirl learns scribing at a Jewish Museum London education session

“Since the building was forced to close by Covid-19, schools have called us for immediate support, and so have the care homes we have worked with for years, the families we engage and the interfaith and mental health partner organisations that are working so incredibly hard,” Jeens noted as her appointment was made public.

Not all news surrounding the shift in focus is positive, however. “In choosing to refocus the work of the Museum on the communities we serve,” Jeens continues, “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.”

In an additional personnel shake up at the London site, Lord Young has stepped down as chair following 10 years in post. Tanya Persey, the Museum’s treasurer, is serving as interim chair until a successor can be found.

The work Jewish Museum London is doing to boost its online education programme is being made possible courtesy of support from Arts Council England – despite the institution having withdrawn from its National Portfolio earlier in the year.

Aiming to increase the reach and impact of its educational services, the Museum’s offer includes the launch of virtual classrooms alongside delivering Continued Professional Development and wellbeing activities for teachers.