Display and Exhibits

The Display:

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 architectural features.

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 offices. 

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.

 

The Exhibits:

The Fortifications 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 developments. 

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 Centre.

Lecture Hall:

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, and melitensia.

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.