Willing to know more about the maritime history of Malta, beginning with the ancient times and till the present ones, you should visit the Malta Maritime Museum in Vittoriosa. There you will have a chance to see numerous showpieces of Maltese and Mediterranean seafaring and collect volumes of relevant information both in local and global contexts of maritime activities and their impact on the world society.
After the idea of opening the Malta Maritime Museum appeared in 1988 it took 4 years to collect necessary artifacts and find a suitable building and in 1992 it was already opened to the public. The most suitable building able to locate large museum exponents turned to be the former Royal Naval Bakery. Built between 1842 and 1845 by the British architect William Scamp it took the site of the slipway belonging to the Knights of the St.John’s Order and became a Naval Bakery, which supplied the Royal Navy with bread and biscuit. Later the building was converted into stores, offices, and headquarters of the Admiralty Constabulary. Up to the closing of the British base in 1979 the ex-bakery stayed the part of the naval establishment. Before opening the museum it has already been abandoned for years as if waiting to be filled in with maritime treasures.
The museum includes various exponents which belong to different epochs. Practically the entire maritime history of Malta and its technological development is described with the help of each showpiece. This history becomes brighter and brighter with each adjunction to the collection, which is regularly expanded with new exponents.
For today the Malta Maritime Museum occupies about 2000 square meters and includes three main halls. The first hall is dedicated to the Royal Navy in Malta, the second one describes the maritime period of the St. John’s Order, and the third one exhibits the Anadrian’s maritime machinery. In 2003 the newer Marine Engineering exhibition was opened. The museum’s management strives to hold valuable museum’s activities, such as temporary exhibitions, for example, which are organized from time to time, being located in different halls of the building.
Coming to the Malta Maritime Museum you will see numerous rarities which will tell you a lot about Malta history. For example, you shouldn’t miss going to the museum’s Anadrian Hall and seeing the engine room machinery built by Fergusson Brothers for Malta in 1951. On the first floor you will also find a collection of ship copies and paintings which depict the 19th and 20th century vessels. The major part of various maritime objects and elaborations from prehistoric times and until the end of St. John’s Order rules can be found in the Main Hall of the museum. You can see there numerous portraits and pictures depicting the Order’s navy. Nautical instruments and charts used for sea navigation can also be found in this hall. One more hall of the museum is dedicated to civilian and naval life of the people related to seafaring, describing them both at work and at leisure.
In general, volume of information given in the museum is that large that the guided tour is highly recommended. So be ready to walk around all the 2000 square meters seeing hundreds of amazing objects and listening lots of fascinating maritime facts and stories.