€5 million national arts museum targeted for 2018 completion

Government launches design brief for Muza, national arts museum

Tourism minister Karmenu Vella said the tentative completion date for the National Arts Museum will be 2018, the year in which Valletta will hold the prestigious title of European Capital of Culture.

Presenting a design brief of the museum, Vella said €5 million museum will be housed at the Auberge D'Italie and alsol incorporate modern and interactive characteristics.

The new museum will be called Muza.

"We are hoping that Muza will serve as a centre of interaction, along with it being the place where Maltese talent is put on show," he said.

"We have an array of culture in Malta, especially when compared to other countries, but the application by which we showcase them is, invariably, not good enough," he said.

Vella said that, on average, Maltese heritage sites witnessed around 30,000 tourists every year - a figure which Vella described as "too low".

"We are planning for this number to increase to at least 80,000," he said, whilst admitting that even this figure was low for the number of tourists Malta attracts.

Parliamentary secretary for culture José Herrera said that the museum had to be "innovative, creative and stimulating" and should not only target tourists but locals also. "It concerns me greatly when I read that the attendance levels of Maltese at local museums are among the lowest in the EU," he said. "It is for such reasons that this museum needs to be a little different, encouraging people to visit it," he said.

Joe Buttigieg, Chairman of Heritage Malta, said that the 'state-of-the-art project' should reach two objectives; that there will be more access to the arts for Maltese and foreigners alike; and that the various artifacts are understood in their relevant context, with the background of the artist and the era in which the object was created, explained.

"Maltese art is something which we should be proud of, and it is something that should be preserved not only now but for the future also," he said.

Interested applicants are required to send in design proposals until February 2014.