The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library’s (HMML’s) Malta Study Center at Saint John’s University has completed a digitization project with Heritage Malta to digitize the manuscripts, drawings, and maps of the collection at MUŻA – Mużew Nazzjonali tal-Arti (Malta National Community Art Museum).
The project, realized between November 2017 and March 2018, was funded by the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, which promotes the advancement and perpetuation of humanistic inquiry by supporting research libraries and other institutions that transmit the world’s cultural heritage.
“The digitization project at MUŻA offered HMML’s Malta Study Center an unprecedented opportunity to help the museum digitize its maps, manuscripts and drawings, including the Albert Ganado Cartographic Collection,” said Dr. Daniel K. Gullo, Joseph S. Micallef Curator of the Malta Study Center. “MUŻA maintains a very important collection of manuscripts, particularly related to the period of French Occupation of Malta between 1798 and 1800, while possessing priceless drawings and artist’s sketchbooks by several Italian masters.”
The digitization project involved close coordination between the Malta Study Center’s staff and technicians with Heritage Malta’s curators, including creating specialized studios to capture large maps and collaborating to inventory and create preliminary metadata for the manuscript collection. Over 1500 individual objects were digitized in five months, including the Great Siege maps by the Italian printer Giovanni Francesco Camocio, which were added to the UNESCO Memory of the World Register in January, 2018.
HMML’s Malta Study Center was established in 1973 by the Honorary Consul General of Malta-St. Paul/Minneapolis, Joseph S. Micallef, KMOb UOM. The Center preserves and makes accessible the written culture of Malta and the Sovereign Military Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes, and of Malta (also known as the Order of Malta) through its extensive microfilm and digital manuscript collections. As part of its mission, the Center promotes the cultural heritage of Malta and the Order of Malta through seminars, exhibitions, and publications.
Since 1965, HMML has formed partnerships with over 540 libraries and archives to photograph more than 140,000 medieval, renaissance and early-modern manuscripts from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India. One of the world’s leading cultural preservation institutions, HMML’s mission is to identify, digitally photograph, catalog and archive the contents of endangered manuscripts belonging to threatened communities, and to make these unique cultural resources available to users around the world.