The Malta Maritime Museum in Birgu is increasing considerably the total area of its public museum and exhibition space, together with an extended outreach to digital visitors with the digitisation of 2,600 objects from its collection.
Through this project, the total area of visitors’ facilities, museum and exhibition space at the Malta Maritime Museum will increase to 1,629sqm, from the current 1,086sqm.
This capital project, which will be finalised in 2022, is envisaged to lead to an annual increase of another 5,000 visitors, and to a wider outreach towards the digital audience of the Malta Maritime Museum.
The project, worth over €2 million, is partly financed by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants.
In the early 1990s, major works were undertaken to restore and adapt part of the Old Naval Bakery to serve as the Malta Maritime Museum. To date, only a relatively small percentage of the entire building is serving as a museum.
In recent years, Heritage Malta has commenced an ambitious restoration programme to restore the external fabric of this historical structure. The new project will consolidate the building through structural interventions, which will recreate the spatial environment that was originally designed by renowned British architect William Scamp back in the 1840s, while also introducing new internal areas and spaces.
Two of the major interventions will involve the removal of the remains of one of the silos built during the later British era and the reconstruction of the original arches/vaulted spaces, along with the repair and restoration of the uppermost ceiling of the same wing of the building. The elimination of the silo will provide a generous capacity to create an accessible and adequate foyer area at ground floor level, which will include a reception, a museum shop and temporary exhibition spaces.
The introduction of new spaces at first and second floor levels will facilitate the increase of artefacts on permanent display and enhance the public’s interaction with the exhibits. A larger exhibition space is going to be provided in a silo, which will be retained and split into four levels.
The digitisation component of the project aims to create a fully fletched e-accessible database of rich information, knowledge, and various forms of digital media of Malta’s cultural heritage assets, focusing on the Maritime Museum collection of models and navigation instruments.