For non-Jews the museum offers the opportunity to expand the capabilities of living in a diverse community. By learning about Jewish issues and history, visitors can relate how Jews are similar rather than different. For example, the building in which the Museum is housed, the restored 1936 synagogue, is the most important artifact in the museum's collection. Its location was dictated by the fact that when Jews began moving to Miami Beach, the only area in which they were allowed to live was south of Fifth Street (the Museum building is two blocks south of Fifth Street). When non-Jewish visitors learn why the building is at this location, they realize that they are not the only ones who may have faced discrimination. Thus, barriers are somewhat dissolved, and visitors enrich their vision of the world.
The newly expanded museum opened in November 2011 after two years of construction. The project restored aspects of the original building designed by Saarinen, made needed structural repairs, replaced windows, and upgraded mechanical systems. The museum features year-round, changing exhibitions as well as a new Collections and Education Wing, an additional 20,000 sq ft (1,900 m 2 ) of storage and classroom space open to visitors by guided tour. Based on an open storage plan, the new wing allows the museum's entire collection to be seen.