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HMML receives grant to digitize manuscript collection from the Cathedral Museum and Archives of Mdina, Malta

January 7, 2015
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A grant from the Rahr Foundation will support The Malta Study Center’s efforts to digitize, conserve, and catalog a collection of medieval manuscripts at the Cathedral Museum and Archives of Mdina, Malta. This project will be the first digitization project at the Cathedral’s archives, building on the major microfilming project undertaken at Mdina during the 1970s and 1980s by the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML).

The Rahr Foundation’s grant will support the digitization of medieval and early modern manuscripts not microfilmed as part of the original microfilm preservation project. During a recent visit to Malta in September 2014, Dr. Daniel K. Gullo, the Joseph S. Micallef Curator of The Malta Study Center, and the Cathedral’s archivist, Monsignor John Azzopardi, recognized the need to preserve the numerous individual parchments, manuscript codices, and other valuable documents found in the collection. 

“The medieval records of Malta are few in comparison to the period after the occupation of the island by the Order of Saint John of the Hospital,” said Dr. Gullo. “Several documents, especially those of Kings Alfonso V and Ferdinand II of Aragón, record the relationship between the island and the Crown of Aragón prior to the arrival of the Knights to Malta in 1530.” The manuscripts include two 12th-century illuminated Aquitanian liturgical music manuscripts, several manuscript codices with liturgical works, sermons, and music, and many royal letters, papal documents, and charters. 

“We are very happy to renew our relationship with Monsignor John Azzopardi and the Cathedral Museum and Archives, as his tireless efforts on behalf of archival preservation in Malta provided the foundation for our preservation efforts at The Malta Study Center,” remarked Dr. Gullo. “We are very thankful that the Rahr Foundation has allowed us to digitize the collection.” As part of the original microfilm project in the 1970s and 1980s, The Malta Study Center filmed over 8,000 books, manuscripts, and archival material dating from the 16th to the 20th century, including the notable Archives of the Inquisition of Malta, the parish archives, and the musical archives. 

Support from the Rahr Foundation will bring these documents to the world’s scholars for the very first time in digital format, forming part of HMML’s commitment to the preservation of manuscript culture. The project will begin in February 2015 and be completed over three-year’s time. Watch HMML’s web and social media sites, and biannual issues of Melitensia for updates on the project.

Media Contact:
Erin Lonergan
Director of Development and Public Outreach
Hill Museum & Manuscript Library
Phone: 320-363-2095 | Email: [email protected] | Website:
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