The building's spacious
vaulted interiors provide a sizeable exhibition space ideally suited for
medium-sized displays. The Restoration Directorate's design proposals sought to
exploit these spaces to their maximum and at the same time give the building a modern
contemporary feel without, however, detracting anything from its historic
The main exhibition
spaces are arranged over the building's three floors and are so laid out to
provide the following facilities:
a reception hall, with introductory video
screen and seating area;
three permanent exhibition halls
highlighting the salient features of the fortifications of
the Maltese islands (Bronze Age, Punic/Roman, Medieval, Hospitaller
and British periods);
a medium sized audio-visual hall for
public lectures and presentations;
a resource centre and specialized
reference library which will also serve as a documentation centre; and a
modern annex containing the main services and administrative
The various halls are linked
together by means of elevators and a staircase located within the newly built
annex building that was grafted onto the side of the historic structure, given
that the old edifice had no internal means of communication.
The halls are lit by an
integrated lighting system and the whole building is monitored continually by a
networked surveillance camera system.
Interpretation Centre seeks to introduce visitors to the history, variety, and
technicalities of the fortifications of Malta through a specially designed
exhibition that brings together large-scale models of the
main fortifications of Malta, explanatory and graphic information panels,
as well as various interactive multi-media kiosks.
The exhibition is spread
out across three floors, with the main exhibits being concentrated on the first
and second floors, arranged in chronological and thematic sequence.
The information boards,
printed on large format panels, are mounted along the walls and on
free-standing screens and provide a running commentary.
Two important features of
the Fortifications Interpretation Centre are the scale models of some of
Malta's fortifications (others are planned to be introduced in due course) and
its multi-media component. Most of the commentary will be provided via a
series of 18 touch-screen kiosks programmed with specially designed
presentations with embedded audio, video and images and three-dimensional
computer generated models of the fortifications. The Centre aims to have 3D
computer reconstructions of all the fortifications of the Maltese islands.
The advantage of such
models is that they enable the visitor to see and explore the fortifications in
their original state and form, prior to the onset of modern alterations and
Two large table-top touch
screens are located in the children's learning area and the reference library
respectively. The former is uploaded with child-friendly educational software,
puzzles and question-and-answer games designed to stimulate children’s'
interest and curiosity. The multi-touch table inside the library, on the other
hand, is intended to facilitate research work.
All the artwork, the
designs, the scale models, as well as the underlying historical research were
produced by Restoration Directorate historians, researchers, graphic designers,
model makers and technical personnel. Many of the images and designs, and 3D
computer models of the fortifications (such as those reproduced here) were
produced by Dr Stephen C Spiteri Ph.D and kindly made available for use at the
A focal part of the
Fortifications Interpretation Centre is its reference (non-lending) library.
This library is designed to house a specialized collection of books, journals,
and digital records related to all matters concerning the history and
development of fortifications from a multi-disciplinary perspective. The
library is intended to serve as a repository of books, maps and documents, as
well as digital information and data (PDFs, images, videos and acad drawings)
encompassing a range of subjects and formats related to all the various aspects
of military architecture and fortification - history, military history,
architecture, building methods and techniques, restoration and conservation,
The library has
integrated study areas and can seat up to 16 researchers. It is equipped with a
large multi-touch table-top computer for easy and quick access to its
collection of digital records (PDF documents, image collections, and videos) as
well as a Wi-fi service. A website dedicated to the Fortifications
Interpretation Centre is planned to be launched in the course of 2013 and is
intended to serve as an online portal and research tool.
The Centre also has a
dedicated audio-visual hall designed to accommodate 50 to 60 visitors at a time
which will feature specially produced presentations aimed at introducing
audiences to the various aspects of the subject.
The lecture hall will
also be used to host an ongoing programme of lectures by resident researchers
and guest speakers on all aspects related to the study of military architecture
and the conservation of fortifications.