Monday, May 25, 2020
Dear Museum Community,
We hope you are all keeping well during these challenging times. The past two months have led to numerous changes for the Museum and the world at large. We want to share a few important pieces of news about the Museum of Jewish Montreal and how we are adapting to the pandemic.
So much of our Museum has been built around transformative in-person educational and cultural experiences. We have moved quickly to bring as many of these activities as possible online, launching a series of digital cultural and social events (to which nearly 1000 people have already attended in the past six weeks). We will soon be introducing online tours and educational experiences for school groups and visitors from around the world. Thanks to a variety of grants, our student fellowships, microgrants, and community engagement work that helps our community connect to Jewish life will continue online as well.
After successfully adapting to this new environment, a new challenge has arisen that we want to share with you:
Last week our landlord informed us that he had sold our unit to a new owner who has demanded we leave our space at 4040 St-Laurent by June 30th.
While this may come as a shock to you (as it did to us), I want to assure you that we are ready to deal with this unexpected development. We plan to come out of it (and the pandemic in general) more resilient and prepared to engage our growing audiences. We have already looked at several alternative spaces that can host the more than 25,000 annual visitors we normally receive for our cultural gatherings, tours, exhibitions, and food events. For now, though, we have chosen to focus our activities online until the time is right to reopen a physical space. This will allow us to stay nimble and conserve resources while we continue to deliver on our mission.
Speaking of our mission, in early March we completed a strategic plan that reinforced our purpose and vision for the coming years. While the roadmap has already seen a few early and unexpected twists, our mission and vision remain the same: We will continue to connect our audiences to Montreal’s Jewish life and identity, to share our diverse heritage, and to create new cultural experiences. Our vision, built around our community members and their unique identities, passions, and creativity, is for Montreal to be home to a thriving ecosystem of diverse Jewish arts and culture, where Jews will have lifelong connections to their identity, and all Montrealers will have stronger ties to our city’s Jewish life.
We’re excited to continue building our community and to make the most of this transition in new, innovative, and creative ways together. Despite this challenge and the changes it will bring, we will continue to be here for our community, for our city and for you. Now more than ever we want to hear from you, and invite you to join us for a digital town hall meeting in the coming weeks to share your wishes, ideas, and advice as we reimagine our future. Please stay tuned for an event invitation in a future newsletter.
It’s your support that allowed us to get to this stage, and we hope you will continue to support us through this challenging moment and beyond, so the Museum can keep making a vital impact for our community and for Montreal’s future.
Our entire team and Board looks forward to remaining connected with you through our online programming and hearing your ideas about our future.