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Alterations and extended opening hours for St John’s Co-Cathedral

Non-invasive alterations at St John’s Co-Cathedral will aim for a more comfortable experience for visitors and better access for the physically challenged. 

19 February 2015, 12:37pm
St John's Co-Cathedral will have more
St John's Co-Cathedral will have more
Artist's impression of the tapestry hall
Artist's impression of the tapestry hall
Artist's impression of the Silver Vaults
Artist's impression of the Silver Vaults
The St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation has plans for a total state-of-the art refurbishment and extension of the museum. This is to accommodate the ever-increasing amount of tourists and locals who visit, and especially because the current layout of the museum is unable to exhibit all its priceless artefacts in the right conservation environment.

The St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation has been examining this project for several years in an effort to better showcase its collections. These include, amongst others, all twenty-nine Flemish Tapestries, the Sacred Vestments, the Silver Collection, the Illuminated manuscripts, and the Cappella Ardente. A Caravaggio Centre is also planned, and will focus on the life and works of the most celebrated artist of the Baroque era, whose most prestigious painting, The Beheading of St John, graces the Oratory. 

The proposed enhancement will make maximum use of present vacant spaces; it will also house the one-of-a-kind Flemish tapestries series together in one hall, which is presently dispersed in several rooms.  Appropriate lighting, climate control, and reading areas will also be introduced. The new and spacious entrance to St John’s Co-Cathedral Museum will provide comfortable facilities for visitors and easy accessibility for the physically challenged. The extension will have no direct impact on the church, designed is such a way that will allow flexible opening hours of the museum. Thus, priceless collections will be exhibited as well as conserved for future generations to appreciate.

Monsignor Carmel Zammit, President of the St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation, has enthusiastically backed and encouraged the project, saying that “a much needed refurbishment and extension of the Museum has for a long time been felt. We want the Co-Cathedral Museum to be accessible, informative and modern. It will also relieve the church from the conservation stress caused by crowds of visitors.” He highlighted “St John’s Co-Cathedral is a unique artistic gem and we must further enhance and share the enjoyment of this European treasure”, clearly referring to the wonderful chapels, lapidaries and magnificent art adorning the Church and the museum.

Cynthia de Giorgio, Curator of St John’s Co-Cathedral commented that “the way in which nowadays visitors prefer to look, listen and learn has changed. For this reason the museum will be equipped to meet the expectations of the modern visitor. New technology will meet all conservation aspects and intelligent didactic means will give an enlightening educational experience assisting visitors to appreciate what they will be seeing”.

The extended museum aims to “enhance the cultural equity of Valletta”.

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