A future for our past | Noel Zammit

Through the newly launched ‘Heritage Malta Passport’ scheme, students and accompanying adults will be given free access to museums and heritage sites. Heritage Malta CEO NOEL ZAMMIT outlines the rationale of an initiative which aims to alter how we look at our past in the future

Noel Zammit. Photo by James Bianchi
Noel Zammit. Photo by James Bianchi

Heritage Malta has just launched a major initiative – described as the agency’s ‘largest investment to date’ – to boost appreciation of cultural heritage among the young. Can you tell us how this idea came about, and why it was felt to be necessary?

About a year ago, we embarked upon a study on how to grant primary and secondary school students free access to heritage sites. By that, I don’t mean just opening the doors, allowing students to come to the museums, and that’s it. No, we also wanted to enhance the experience, and strengthen the educational aspect. However, children usually come with their parents, relatives, or other accompanying adults; they don’t come alone. So we also had to study the possible impact on our economical and financial bottom line, basically. Should we give access only to students, or also to adults? We therefore conducted a feasibility study; and to cut a long story short, the general conclusion was that it would be an investment, much more than a cost. There would be a short-term loss; but in the medium to long term, it will prove to be an important way to ensure a future for our past. That is our ‘brand promise’; and to achieve it, we need our future – the students – to educate themselves in cultural heritage, and grow up proud of their identity in a globalized world.

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