The Malta Independent 20 February 2019, Wednesday

Birgu Maritime Museum to get €2 million revamp

Albert Galea Wednesday, 16 January 2019, 14:51 Last update: about 2 months ago

The Maritime Museum in Birgu is going to get a €2 million revamp which will see an expansion to the museum space, measures to improve accessibility and to present exhibits using interactive and digital technology.

Funded by the European Economic Area and Norway financial mechanism, the restoration will focus on three main elements, explained Heritage Malta chairperson Anton Refalo.  These elements are firstly the restoration and general improvement of the museum’s facilities and exhibits, secondly the museum’s accessibility and, finally a renewed focus on creating exposure with a wide spread of Maltese and Gozitan citizens, along with tourists.

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Refalo also emphasised that having an interactive museum as opposed to a static one is imperative.  In fact, once the project is completed each exhibit will be paired with digital and interactive technology such as 3D modelling of the said exhibit which would be viewable in 360 degrees.

One of the exhibits, a traditional Luzzu, first mapped out in a 3D skeleton and then fleshed out with its respective colours and viewable in 360 degrees for the museum’s digital exhibits.

Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia was pleased to announce the provision of the funds for this project, saying that the success of the implementation of this project will ensure Malta’s contribution of these funds towards the enhancement of priority sectors like social inclusion, youth employment and poverty reduction. Children, youths at risk and vulnerable groups in Birgu shall be the main target groups during this programming period and projects like this shall aim at boosting systematic change, Farrugia said.

Malta has benefitted from €8 million in total from the EEA and Norway grants through MoU’s signed in February 2017.  The total figure is split in three manners; €4 million was received from the EEA Financial Mechanism, €3.3 million from the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and €0.7 million from the Civil Society Fund.  This was a €3 million increase from the previous programming period which ran from 2009 to 2014, Farrugia explained.

Justice, Culture and Local Governments Minister Owen Bonnici also praised the project and said that it would give a new lease of life to what is an integral part of Malta’s historical heritage.  Bonnici explained that there were 2,600 archaeological exhibits in the museum, and also said that the building’s original features – it was used as a bakery in the time of the Knights of St. John – would be given prominence as well.

Bonnici added that this project would also contribute to the local development of the area, with more people being attracted to the south of the country.  The minister said that this was a museum that had a vibrant connection with the locality it was in and the community around it, and that this restoration would only continue to strengthen that connection.

 

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