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Your Guide to Malta and Gozo - Maritime Museum

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Malta Maritime Museum

Ex-Naval Bakery, Vittoriosa Waterfront, Vittoriosa; tel: +356 21 660 052

Monday to Sunday: 9.00hrs -17.00hrs (Last admission: 16.30hrs); closed on  Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day and Good Friday. Regular ticket (18 - 59 years): €5; subsidised ticket: 12-17 years, senior citizens (60+), students €3.50; children (6 -11 years): €2,50; children younger than 6 years of age may visit at no charge.

Multi Site Tickets: Visit all the area museums in one day and save on the admission fee - Vittoriosa Multi Site Ticket (Inquisitor's Palace & Malta Maritime Museum): Adults (18 - 59 years): €9.00; students (12 - 17 years); Senior Citizens (60 years and over), ISIC Card Holders, EURO<26 Card Holders, ISE Card Holders, ICOM Card Holders, University of Malta and MCAST Students: €7.00; Children (6 -11 years): €4.50; Infants (1 -5 years): Free

 

 

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The Maritime Museum is housed within sections of the former Naval Bakery. This was designed by William Scamp, who also supervised the construction work between 1842 and 1845. The bakery was functional until the 1950's. It has housed the Maritime Museum since its inauguration on 24th July 1992 by Dr. Ugo Mifsud Bonnici.

 

The Ground Floor - The Anadrian Hall

Past the ticketing desk on the ground floor is an exhibition of items pertaining to ancient shipping: this includes stone anchors, and what is purported to be the largest anchor ever recovered from ancient times. There are also models of a Greek galley from the 5th Century AD and a Phoenician Warship. The exhibition here also comprises a collection of books whose main theme is Paul's Shipwreck in Malta. Other attractions in this corridor include Roman amphorae, some in a fragmented state.

You may next proceed to the Anadrian Hall – this is the former Royal Navy bakery mill room, and is dedicated to the Anadrian, a dredger built at Port Glasgow by Ferguson Brothers Ltd. and was operational from 1952 until it was finally written off in 1989. You may see here several parts of the vessel's machinery with a detailed explanation of their functioning. Up a flight of steps, you will see a reconstruction of the Anadrian's cabin and a scale model of the ship made by Joseph Abela.

 

Miscellania on the First Floor

On the first floor is a rather small section dedicated to merchant shipping, past which is a large hall containing artifacts from the times of the Knights. Here you will learn about the carrack, of which the Order had two: the Santa Maria, a valuable trophy seized in battle from the Muslim enemy, off Rhodes; and the Sant' Anna that died a slow and painful death in Galley Creek, where it was abandoned due to prohibitively huge operational costs.

 

A painting which caught our eye is that of the Madonna of the Fleet, flanked by saints. With a raised right arm, she is here shown granting her divine protection to the ships of the Order. This painting is interesting not merely for its artistic qualities, but also as it offers a glimpse into the religious psychology of the Order of the Knights.

A cannon with a bas relief of St. Barbara, patron saint of gunners is another highlight in this hall.

The hall is also decorated with portraits of Maltese seafarers. There is also a showcase containing a range of navigation instruments, ranging from sextants to a 19th Century marine chronometer and a 19th century telescope. Also prominently displayed are models of several sea vessels from the 18th Century, including the Grand Master's ceremonial barge, the ceremonial barge of the general of the galleys and demi-galleys of the order of St. John. There are also fragments of pottery and an admirable collection of smoking pipes recovered in 2002 from Galley Creek.

It is the Irish god Dagda however which perhaps takes centre-stage as the figurehead of the HMS Hibernia, flagship of the British Mediterranean Fleet from 1816 to 1855. The deity is shown holding Uaithne, a magical harp made of oakwood with which he is said to have controlled the battlefield and the rolling of the seasons.

A smaller hall is the Customs Room. Here you may see rubber stamps, a collection of weights and measures and weighing scales used by the Malta Customs in the 19th century and a customs officer's uniform. The Customs Bell is centrally located within this hall.

A section in the Royal Navy Hall deals with the arrival of the British in 1800, with a portrait of Sir Alexander Ball and two marble plaques, listing in chronological order the British Commanders-in-chief on the Mediterranean Station from 1792 until 1975. 

There is also a section that gives a broad perspective of on-board health equipment, including stretchers and surgical instruments. This is complimented with a scale model of the Bighi Naval Hospital. Important exhibitions within this hall deal with the two World Wars, and comprise models of warships, a defused torpedo and a 500 kilogramme bomb that was dropped on Fort St. Angelo.

 

Take a break - at the Eastney Canteen

Another highlight of this hall is a convincing reconstruction of the Eastney Canteen, complete with 1950's style furnishing and advertisements, an old black and white television set and a rediffusion unit.

Maritime Museum

  • Housed in the old Naval Bakery, constructed between 1842-1845
  • A large collection of exhibits from ancient arefacts on the ground floor to the Anadrian - a dredger ship that was functional until 1989.
  • Other highlights include Dagda, the Irish god, as the figurehead of the HMS Hibernia; and a detailed reconstruction of the Eastney Canteen, from the 1950's