The original artifacts of the Museum’s collections are organised into various thematic categories. One of the largest is the category of books, which includes Prayer books, Psalms, the Torah, Commentaries on Holy Texts, Kabbalah books, as well as school books, manuals of various kinds, books of history and ethnography, works of literature and poetry, calendars and albums dating as far back as the 16th century.
Another significant and representative category is the one of costumes, which includes traditional dress (18th – 20th centuries) and urban outfits (19th -20th centuries), men’s, women’s and children’s clothing, and a wide variety of dress accessories. There are also clothes for infants, for circumcisions and prayer. A separate sub-category includes clothes that were traditionally part of a bride’s trousseau, such as hand-sewn underwear, shirts and nightshirts, dresses and household linen and textiles, for example bed sheets, towels, quilts, pillowcases, embroideries and lace items.
Military uniforms and memorabilia make up another separate sub-category, while the Holocaust Collection includes concentration camp uniforms and a number of cloth yellow stars.
There is a large number of synagogual textiles, either for use in rituals or decoration. Their variety ensures that all kinds are represented, of both the Romaniote and the Sephardic traditions. The Jewish Museum’s collections also include several synagogual artifacts, such as menorot, tikkim, rimonim, Torah scrolls, Torah pointers, tahshitim, as well as the furnishings of the Patras synagogue.
Another category worth mentioning is the household objects, including crockery, cutlery, bowls and baking dishes, candle holders and more, as well as atrefacts for domestic rituals and worship, such as mezuzoth, hannukiyioth, spice containers, Shabbath candle holders and oil lamps.
Many rare and important items are to be found in the category of manuscripts, including circumcision certificates (alefioth), antenuptial contracts (ketuboth), Esther Scrolls (meggiloth), personal diaries, a variety of correspondence, postcards and Ottoman decrees of the 19th century. The Museum also has a great number of documents, such as certificates, identity cards, passports, immigration and military papers, telegrams, stock certificates and bonds. Many of those are part of the Holocaust Collection. The Museum also has paintings, drawings, and engravings, original photographs and negatives, children?s toys, various kinds of shoes, coins and banknotes, dedicatory inscriptions and tombstones.
Among the Museum?s collections, there are also archives of newspapers and clippings, WW II Archives, with rare historical documents, the Bulgarian Collection, containing jewellery, watches, lighters, personal items, valuables, documents, and its Collection of Works of Art.
The newly formed Art Collection of the Jewish Museum of Greece, contains contemporary works of art by Greek Jewish and non-Jewish artists, many of which have been exhibited in one or another of the Art Exhibitions frequently organised by the Museum, in its Contemporary Art Gallery. The Art Collection was formed as a response, first to the Museum?s desire to offer a more comprehensive view of its subject. Also, to the wish of its public to become acquainted – besides their history and tradition – with more aspects of the life and expression of the Greek Jews, such as their present artistic output, whether in music, literature or the fine arts. This collection also represents a widening of the scope of the Museum and a move towards artists beyond the community’s boundaries, as well as an effort to maintain and spur public interest by looking at issues of history, tradition, faith, identity, memory and coexistence from a new perspective.