At the end of October 1997, on the 20th anniversary since it was first founded, the Jewish Museum of Greece left its old premises and moved into its new, permanent ones. The inauguration of the renovated neoclassical building, which now houses the Museum, took place on March 10th, 1998.
The new building is of great architectural interest. Only the exterior walls of the existing 19th century building were maintained; the interior was completely rebuilt in order to meet the demands of a modern Museum. Three of its four floors are broken into three consecutive levels, of unequal height. All the levels are arranged around a central octagonal shaft, which runs the height of the building, from the basement to the roof. Its glass dome allows natural light to flood through all the levels, while the Museum’s stairway winds round it in an anticlockwise spiral from the bottom up. Following this upward spiral, the exhibition is divided into thematic units, one per level. The visual result is of an interesting and unusual environment, with a lot of angular shapes and structures, all around the central axis of the skylight.
The colour scheme chosen for the interior aims at toning down the angular shapes while serving as a neutral background for the colorful exhibits. The tones of light peach and off-white complement the wooden panelling and floors, which make the atmosphere warm and welcoming.
An area of 800 square metres houses a collection of more than 8,000 objects, most of them rare religious and domestic artifacts which record the history and tradition of the Greek Jews. Besides the permanent exhibition, there is a temporary exhibitions area, a Contemporary Art Gallery, an educational programmes area, a library, a cloakroom, storage facilities, a photographic archive and laboratory, a conservation laboratory, as well as office space. The building is protected by a state-of-the-art security system, surveillance cameras, a guard, as well as fire and flood alarms.