When in Malta, a visit to the Malta Maritime Museum is worthwhile.
The museum is located at the Vittoriosa waterfront. During the presence of the Knights of Malta on the island, the site was used as the arsenal where the Order’s galley fleet was maintained.
During the time of the British presence in Malta, the site was developed as the naval bakery, built between 1842 and 1845 by British architect and engineer William Scamp. The naval bakery supplied the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean fleet stationed in Malta with its daily requirements of bread and biscuits. The “Bakery,” as it was and still is affectionately known, remained part of the Royal Naval establishment up to the closure of the British base in March of 1979.
The museum illustrates Malta’s maritime history from prehistory to the present day; the ancient shipping section includes Roman lead anchors and amphoras. The section dedicated to the Order of St. John includes an important collection of authentic period models, some originally pertaining to the Congre-gazione delle Galere, and to the Order’s nautical school.
The French interlude (1798-1800) is represented by two large French republican guns, a prisoner-of-war wooden model of the French second-rater Bucentaur, documents, edged period weapons, and a host of water colors, engravings and lithographs.
The British period (1800-1979) is particularly well represented. The hall is divided into various sections illustrating the role of the Royal Navy in Malta.
Maltese traditional boat models, such as the Latin-rigged Gozo boat, the Ferilla and the Kajjik, tools and paintings constitute the basis of a small hall dedicated to boat building in Malta.
For more information, visit www.heritagemalta.org/museums/maritime/maritimecoll.html