Future visitors to the Malta Maritime Museum in Birgu will be treated to a fully immersive and interactive participant-centred experience thanks to a process of innovative digitisation co-financed by the EEA (European Economic Area, Norway Grants) funding. The museum, which is currently closed, is also going through a process of restoration and structural upgrading, further helping to enhance the public’s access to new, state-of-the-art display areas in the building.

The EEA project is part of a bigger investment by the Government of Malta and Heritage Malta at the Malta Maritime Museum. The Norway Grants consist of €2 million worth of funding that is being funnelled into two separate channels.

Half of the funds are being allocated towards civil works and the rehabilitation of the Malta Maritime Museum premises to reverse changes made to the structure of the building during the British colonial period. The structural upgrading also includes the significant expansion of the Museum display area and the creation of new spaces for the reserve collection and the permanent exhibition. Furthermore, the ground floor of the museum is being made more accessible to the public.

The remaining half of the grant has been apportioned for the digitization of 2600 artefacts within the Malta Maritime Museum, making for a more interactive and innovative visitor  centred presentation of the collection. This is a major first for Heritage Malta and part of a long term project to digitize hundreds of thousands of  items which form part of the national collection, ranging from paintings to porcelain, archaeological artefacts, arms and armour, natural history specimens, clothing, and intangible cultural heritage assets. The digitization process involves the acquisition of various digital formats including: photography, videography, 3D laser scanning and photogrammetry, besides the setting up of a collection management system which will eventually grow into the national collection management system.

The exciting and substantial overhaul underway, promises to place the Museum firmly on the map of any foreign or local visitor’s itinerary.

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WORK IN PROGRESS
Roofing
After decades lacking a comprehensive maintenance plan, delicate interventions are now being done to the roofing to determine the extent of deterioration in a more wholistic manner. The timber beams and masonry stone slabs (xorok) are being carefully treated.
Restoration interventions seek to expose the stone surfaces and timber beam faces so that this will enable the specialist treatment aimed at retaining as much as possible of the original structural elements. Some replacing of structural elements may be necessary if concerns of structural safety or integrity would have been raised.

Roofing

Silo

The restoration treatment for the steel structure in the large silo has finally commenced. The steel base structure supported huge concrete silos on it and time and lack of maintenance in this area has seen its toll on the structure.

Nonetheless, sand and grit blasting has exposed a magnificent structure still in optimal condition of repair and a series of surface treatments will reinstate the structural steelwork to its former glory. Once done, a meticulous restoration to the silo walls and masonry walls of the silos will be carried out.

Silo

Masonry
Civil works are now way underway, with meticulous restoration works on masonry, and skilled stone masons effecting stone replacement. Structural strengthening works and other interventions are slowly rendering the desired results of a beautifully restored building. The splendour of the masonry faces are indeed witness to a textbook restoration job that makes us proud of our Heritage.

Masonry

Find out more about the works in progress by listening to Architect Kevin R. Abela, Manager Structural Projects walk you through.;

Click HERE for  the interview in English

Click HERE for the interview in Maltese

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