The Malta Study Center at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) has signed a partnership agreement with the Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti (FPM) to begin digitizing private collections of pre-1800 manuscript collections in Malta.
FPM is a private, non-profit heritage organization in Malta with the aim of spreading awareness of the island’s extensive history locally and internationally, through museums, exhibitions and publications.
“Malta’s private collections contain important manuscript and archival material, including rich information about the socio-economic history of the island,” said Dr. Daniel K. Gullo, Joseph S. Micallef Curator of the Malta Study Center. “The detailed work carried out by HMML and the FPM will enable scholars to access the rich data through HMML’s growing online environment.”
This is the first, comprehensive partnership for HMML regarding private collections in Malta, and the first attempt to systematically catalog and digitize these valuable cultural resources. Digitization work will begin in February 2016, and will last at least three years. While HMML staff coordinates the project, local Maltese technicians—trained by HMML—are conducting the work with the help and expertise of FPM’s staff and curators.
The first digitized manuscript in the HMML and FPM partnership. 18th century manuscript on paper. HMML project number FPMPL1_00001
Digitization studio located at the Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti in Valletta.
The metadata and images gathered by HMML and the FPM during the course of the project will become part of HMML’s expanding online digital collection. “Our ongoing work with local Maltese scholars will increase our knowledge of the documents and Malta’s history. Most of the records date from the late 16th Century through the 18th century and are of significant benefit for Mediterranean scholars, Maltese historians and academics,” said Gullo. “We are especially thankful for Michael Lowell’s and Joseph Grioli’s leadership at the FPM, and their willingness to help us with this unique digitization and cataloging project.”
One of the world’s leading cultural preservation institutions, HMML’s mission is to identify, digitally photograph, catalog and archive the contents of endangered manuscripts belonging to threatened communities, and to make these unique cultural resources available to users around the world. Since 1965, HMML has formed partnerships with over 540 libraries and archives to photograph more than 140,000 medieval, renaissance and early-modern manuscripts from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and India.