Fine Arts Museum to move to Auberge d'Italie after all

Public pressure appears to have reversed a decision not to move the Fine Arts Museum from Admirality House in South Street to the Auberge d'Italie, as originally planned under the previous government.

The Museum of Fine Arts' current home in Admirality House, South Street.
The Museum of Fine Arts' current home in Admirality House, South Street.

MaltaToday can reveal that following a meeting held between Tourism Minister Karmenu Vella and representatives of Heritage Malta, a decision was taken to move the Museum of Fine Arts, currently housed in Admirality House, South Street to the more central Auberge d'Italie in Merchants Street, as originally planned under the previous administration.

However, while the Museum of Fine Arts will be moved to Auberge d'Italie, a spokesperson for the Ministry for Tourism said that the Ministry and the Malta Tourism Authority - both of which are currently housed at the Auberge, will not be moving to Admirality House.

"A decision still needs to be taken on where the Tourism Ministry and the Malta Tourism Authority will be situated. This is due to fact that when the decision to move the Museum was originally taken, the needs of the Ministry were not adequately assessed."

This reverses a decision announced a week ago by the Tourism Ministry, after it was announced that it had decided not to follow through with the decision to move the Museum. The reasons given by the ministry were that Admirality House was too small to house the Ministry, and the Malta Tourism Authority.

READ MORE: Government responds to Fine Arts Museum move backlash

The announcement that the Museum would not be moved as originally planned led to a very vocal public outcry among artists and local cultural operators. A petition against the decision gathered steam rapidly on social media, and a protest – set for this Saturday – was also planned. 

Responding to this backlash, Tourism Minister Karmenu Vella and Parliamentary Secretary for Culture Jose Herrera released a joint statement on Tuesday, 12 November stating that the decision to move the Museum had not in fact been shot down altogether and that "all options are being considered" to find an adequate space for both the Museum and the Ministry (along with the Malta Tourism Authority).

Meanwhile, the organisers of the protest against the decision not to move the museum - under the banner of 'BACK HOME' - told MaltaToday that they will make a decision on whether or not to carry through with the protest once the decision to move the Museum has been made public.

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people are only getting a government that listens... exactly where were they when the valletta gate was destructed and instead the pn built that horrendous edifice???
@Torquemada & Nikos: Your political allegiance is so very evident and your intentions to denigrate too. This PL Government listens to the people and changes its options to accommodate. Where were you when the previous Government bulldozed City Gate and the Royal Theatre, with all the historic sites underneath? Where were you when every single organisation and NGO in Malta protested vociferously at this wanton permanent destruction of our Capital City. Did your Government do a U Turn on all these protests? NO OF COURSE NO. Your PN was too corrupt, too arrogant, too obsessed to reverse a disastrous decision to destroy Valletta, spend €83 million plus when the people were being crucified with energy tariffs, on buildings that were not even designed to accommodate the needs of the new Parliament or of the Opera House. The PN rushed in where DEVILS feared to thread, sur Nikos - the corruption of the previous Government was more than all the devils put together could devise.
The Tourism Ministry can go either to Boffa Hospital when it is empty or instead of the new parliament though this might be too small for such an important ministry which is doing very well.
alfred zarb
This uncertainty and toing and froing is typical of labour.You never know were you are with them in power.
antoinette borg
An other U-turn. Can this Govt informed the general public how many reversals it intends to do. In just eight months the number countless. Think twice before one leaps does not appeal to this Govt. It just rushes in where angels fear to thread.
David B
Thats the only sensible option, common sense hopefully will prevail. @better Future For goodness sake if artists are not allowed to express their disappointment, how will that reflect on our society and political class ? Why can't we have a level debate without resorting to mind numbing energy wasting parochialisms. Whats wrong with calling a bad decision a bad decision ? Are you implying that artists shouldn't challenge the establishment or the political class when they hold up national projects ? Now how European is that ?
Yanika Chetcuti
So do I take it that the "artists" are taking a politically motivated stand? Does betray the undercurrent doesn't it?

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