The London Museum of Jewish Life was founded in 1983 as the Museum of the Jewish East End with the aim of rescuing and preserving the disappearing heritage of London’s East End – the heartland of Jewish settlement in Britain. While the East End has remained an important focus, the museum expanded to reflect the diverse roots and social history of Jewish people across London, including the experiences of refugees from Nazism. It also developed an acclaimed programme of Holocaust and anti-racist education.
In 1995 the two museums were amalgamated. Between 1995 and 2007 the combined Jewish Museum ran on two sites, but with a long term aim to find the means to combine the two collections, activities and displays within a single site.
Following years of planning and fundraising the museum bought a former piano factory behind the Camden Town site and raised the required funds to combine and remodel the buildings. The new Museum opened to the public on 17 March 2010.
In 2015 the Jewish Museum London partnered with the Jewish Military Museum. The partnership has seen the Jewish Museum London assume care and responsibility for the Jewish Military Museum’s entire collection, research archive and its learning programme. Key objects from the Jewish Military Museum are now on display and integrated into the existing permanent galleries.