His Grace Mons. Paul Cremona, Archbishop of Malta, has inaugurated the initial phase of the Digital Migration Museum that the Emigrants’ Commission is establishing at Dar l-Emigrant in Valletta.
The first phase of the museum, being developed by the Exalta Group, features a digital collection management system that will record, consolidate and preserve all the Emigrants’ Commission’s vital records and artefacts relating to Maltese Emigration for future generations.
The project so far has included the completion of the extensive preparatory work in the hall being the highlight of the digital museum. The hall was converted to serve as the core of the digital museum while retaining its role as a place for activities, such as, public lectures.
The central digital information podium in the main hall, financed through a Vodafone Malta Foundation grant, has been installed. It has eight LED screens, eight touch screen interfaces and computers to drive the digital system enabling the interactive display of many items simultaneously. Visitors will be able to use the central podium to browse through digital information using natural hand movements.
Emigrants Commission Director, Fr Alfred Vella said that the Government has pledged financial support to the project. The Migration Museum Council has been informed that a donation will be effected in the coming weeks. Another main benefactor was Mr Luke Gauci. The Council hopes that more benefactors will help the project continue to progress to completion.
The next step of the ambitious project will be the acquisition of more technological facilities for the digital information set-up in the main hall, the organisation of an archive and a library in another part of the museum, and a documentary film on migration to be shown at the already operational modern auditorium. The completion dates of these phases will depend on the funds available.
Emigrants’ Commission Founder and president of the Migration Museum Council, Mons Philip Calleja, said that the purpose of the museum was to record how emigration started off and subsequently developed, as well as how the communities of Maltese emigrants integrated in the various countries where they settled and what they contributed in these places.
The museum is intended to further strengthen the migrants’ sense of belonging to their Maltese origin and continue to maintain strong ties with Malta despite the geographical distance and cultural variations. Another aim of this Museum is for the Maltese in Malta and the Maltese Communities abroad to better appreciate the reality of the migration phenomenon as well as the value of social inclusion. The size of the Maltese diaspora spread around the world has been estimated to be larger than the population of the Maltese Islands.