The first phase of the Migration Museum to be established at ‘Dar l-Emigrant’ in Castille Place, Valletta, is expected to be completed by the end of this year. This was announced by the Emigrants’ Commission today.
The Commission has engaged the Exalta Group, a Malta-based company specialising in 3D architectural rendering, to deliver this phase of the project. The company specialises in interior and exterior modelling, animation, light/sun studies, material studies, and illustration.
The Migration Museum will focus on the migration from the Maltese islands over the years with exhibits of visual and cultural material, photographs, passports, correspondence, press cuttings, books and other material which helps build a history of sufferings and successes achieved by emigrants and their associations. The plan is to house the museum across the four storeys and roof garden of ‘Dar l-Emigrant’.
The initial part of phase one of the project will consist of the enhancement of the museum’s main hall, including the design, flooring, plastering, electrical works, and painting. This will be followed by the installation of a table style central information podium and a museum interactive system. The central podium will consist of eight LED screens, eight touch screen interfaces and computers to drive the various screens. The interactive system will enable the display a large number of items and the presentation of information in an attractive and interactive manner for visitors to enjoy and experience. Visitors will be encouraged to use the central podium and browse through the digitised information by using hand movements over the various screens.
Migration Museum Project
The Migration Museum project will enable the Emigrants’ Commission to continue to fulfil the important mission for which it was established more than sixty years ago, at a time when there was a huge exodus of Maltese emigrants to foreign lands because of over population and massive unemployment. A non-governmental, not-for-profit, voluntary organisation, the Commission was established by the Commission’s President and Founder, Mgr Philip Calleja, in 1950 to assist emigrants in their preparation for a new life abroad and to foster a close relationship with the families they left in Malta. The Commission assists and protects people in need by offering them free services, counselling and protection. Now its services have been broadened to cover all those affected by migration including immigrants, refugees and tourists.
At the Convention for Maltese Living Abroad held in Malta in March 2010, Mgr Philip Calleja had appealed to participants to help the museum become reality by assisting the Emigrants Commission in the collection of the material to be displayed at the museum and in the raising of funds required to achieve its aims.
The cost for the construction required to convert the building into the Museum and the creation of the exhibits is estimated at €1,200,000. The opening of the Museum is scheduled for the third Sunday of January 2012 — Migrants Day.
The Commission first presented the idea of such a museum in 2000 at the Convention of Leaders of Associations of Maltese Abroad and of Maltese Origin, jointly organised by the Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The setting up of the museum was one of the main recommendations adopted at the Convention.
For the past century and a half has been a major social, political, and policy issue in Malta and forms an integral part of the recent history of Malta. The phenomenon impacted whole generations of Maltese over several decades socially, culturally and economically.
People of Maltese origin can be found almost everywhere in the world but mainly in the main destinations where European emigration started as from the middle of the 19th century, including in Northern Africa, England, France, Spain, Turkey, Australia, Canada, the US and South America. The size of the Maltese Diaspora living in these countries and others is estimated to be much greater than the population of the Maltese Islands.
The goal of this project is to create a Migration Museum as a primary attraction to both visitors to Malta (especially the several thousands of ex-Maltese migrants or their descendants) as well as local residents, given that almost all families in Malta have in some way or other been affected over the years by the phenomenon of migration. It will depict the status of Malta over the past 200 years, explain the existence of Maltese people who left, and their links to Malta with Maltese communities overseas. It will also record how emigration started and developed and how the communities of Maltese emigrants integrated in the various countries of adoption and what they contributed in these places.
Another aim of the museum is to enable the Maltese in Malta and the Maltese communities abroad to better understand the reality of the phenomenon of migration and the value of social inclusion.
The museum complex will consist of:
- Museum for the display of the migration material using state-of-the-art technology infrastructure. About 100 visitors at the same time can be accommodated in this area.
- 150-seat Auditorium for the viewing of a multimedia presentation on Maltese migration and its historical and social effects. It will provide narratives, exhibits, stills, footage, and interactive programs of the Museum, and thought-provoking material about the emigration experience.
- Roof garden for the enjoyment of an audio-visual experience from the roof with a magnificent view of the Grand Harbour. Various sites of historical significance and others related to migration will be pointed out with the use of binoculars/video screens linked to an audio commentary in several languages.
- Museum Shop with total capacity of about 20 visitors at a time, and a Cafeteria to serve 80 visitors.
Appeal for Contributions
The Commission has extensive memorabilia for display in the new museum, including both official and non-official documentation, photos, newspapers from various countries, objects, certificates, personal and general records, stories and letters.
A council has been established to direct and supervise the implementation of the project. It is convinced that among many Maltese families and those of Maltese origin scattered across the globe there would be documentation, objects and memorabilia of great importance that need to be gathered and preserved. The planned museum would be the ideal place where they would form part of the documented history to be archived and exhibited.
The council appeals to anyone who could offer migration related material to the museum for the history of Maltese emigration to be fully represented to contact the council. It is also interested in hearing from anyone who can offer his or her services or provide financial assistance.
The council may be contacted at:
Valletta VLT 1062
Tel: (+356) 21222644, (+356) 21232545, (+356) 21240255
Fax : (+356) 21240022.