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ICOM-Malta together with Heritage Malta is celebrating International Museums Day 2024 through the conference entitled

Documenting museums and private collections using digital tools

Conference

17th May 2024 0830hrs - 1300hrs

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About The Event

The journey into collections documentation is fraught with difficulties and levels of documentation are oftentimes poor in almost every heritage organisation or private collection. A good and well-documented collection makes it a coherent collection and the artefacts and records become a useful tool not only for museum professionals and their patrons, keeping in mind that museums are memory institutions, but also for the private collector.

The aim of this seminar is to show the participants not only advanced digital technologies for documentation, but also simple tools which are within everyone’s reach. There will be demonstrations of documentation projects which are currently underway at Heritage Malta, the Maltese national agency for museums, conservation practice and cultural heritage.

Francesco Vella and Jacob Saliba will delve into the realm of immersive experiences with their presentation on the 4D “Islands at the Crossroads” interactive encounter, showcasing the utilization of digital twins for unparalleled immersion. Isaac Cilia Attard’s discourse on “Memories from the Dockyard” will unveil the utilization of Artificial Intelligence to empower researchers in analyzing intangible cultural heritage, charting new frontiers in preservation and understanding. 

Programme

08.30 – 09.00

Registration

09.00 – 09.15

Welcome speech by Joseph Schiro`

ICOM-Malta President

09.15 – 09.30

Welcome speech by Kenneth Gambin

Chief Operating Officer, Heritage Malta

09.30 – 10.00

Preserving Identity: Digitizing Cultural Narratives for Today and Tomorrow

Presented by Yasmin Paula Cassar, Senior Executive Officer, National Inventory, Research and Archaeology Unit, Superintendence of Cultural Heritage

Safeguarding cultural heritage property requires specialised inventories to ensure the effective documentation of artefacts and their evolving historical context. Operating within the framework of the Cultural Heritage Act 2002 (as amended) (CAP 445), the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage is responsible for the compilation of a National Inventory as well as to surveil the movement and origins of artefacts for preservation purposes, consequently establishing itself as a central repository for heritage documentation. With the aid of digitization and the initiatives undertaken by institutions such as the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, we can ensure the preservation and ongoing accessibility of these narratives for future generations.

10.00 – 10.30

Using simple and advanced digital technologies for documentation

Presented by Tony Cassar, Head Digitisation, Heritage Malta

Tony Cassar, Head of the Digitisation Unit at Heritage Malta, will present on the comprehensive role and achievements of his team within the Technology and Experience Development Unit. The Digitisation Unit is tasked with digitising Malta’s national collection, including sites overland, underground, underwater, and intangible cultural heritage, as mandated by the Cultural Heritage Act. The unit also develops the national collections management system and promotes the reuse of digitised assets to enhance accessibility and audience engagement. On a European level, the Digitisation Unit represents Malta and Heritage Malta in various policy-making forums and actively participates in numerous European projects under Interreg, Horizon, COST, and Digital Europe programs. Tony will highlight how these efforts contribute to preserving and sharing Malta’s rich cultural heritage.

10.30 – 11.00

Coffee Break

11.00 – 12.15

Demonstrations by the Digitisation Unit of Heritage Malta

Presented by Dr Andrew Pace, Francesco Vella, Jacob Saliba, and Isaac Cilia Attard

The conference will feature enlightening speeches from members of the Digitization Unit, shedding light on pioneering initiatives shaping the future of museum experiences.

Dr. Andrew Pace will expound upon the revolutionary impact of eMuseum, elucidating how digitization strategies are enhancing accessibility to the national collection.

Francesco Vella and Jacob Saliba will delve into the realm of immersive experiences with their presentation on the 4D “Islands at the Crossroads” interactive encounter, showcasing the utilization of digital twins for unparalleled immersion.

Isaac Cilia Attard’s discourse on “Memories from the Dockyard” will unveil the utilization of Artificial Intelligence to empower researchers in analysing intangible cultural heritage, charting new frontiers in preservation and understanding.

12:15 - 12:30

Developing an educational digital project about MUŻA’s collection of Old Master Drawings

Presented by Krystle Farrugia, Principal Curator (MUŻA), Heritage Malta

Heritage Malta has secured an €87,000 grant from the Getty Foundation’s ‘The Paper Project’
initiative for an educational digital project centred around MUŻA’s collection of Old Master drawings. As Malta lacks specialized expertise in this field, the project will bridge this gap by creating a dedicated microsite featuring drawings dating from the 15th to the 18th centuries, including works by renowned artists such as Vittore Carpaccio and François Boucher. The online platform will cater to various audiences with informative content covering materials and techniques, provenance, schools and periods, functions, and subject matter of drawings. The project team is collaborating with international experts, other Heritage Malta departments, and with the Malta Study Center at the Hill Museum and Manuscript Library which provided digitized materials for the platform. This project will also make available online images and metadata of select drawings as part of Heritage Malta’s new eMuseum platform.

12.30 – 12.45

STECCI Horizon Digitisation

Presented by Dr Saida Ibragic

STECCI is a multidisciplinary project that combines the expert knowledge and skills of conservation and conservation science, climate and environmental sciences, life sciences, social sciences, economy, creative industries, and humanities in order to overcome the challenges posed by climate change in the realm of cultural heritage.

STECCI will use state-of-the-art research equipment, digital technologies, the newest approaches in social sciences, and conservation practice excellence to achieve the set objectives based on demo cases, which will be translated and applicable beyond Europe. 

12.45 – 13.00

Concluding remarks by Mr Joseph Schiro`

ICOM-Malta President

Meet Our Speakers

Head of Technology and Experience Development unit

Kenneth Gambin

Chief Operating Officer, Heritage Malta​

Joseph Schiro`

ICOM-Malta President

Yasmin Paula Cassar

Senior Executive Officer, National Inventory, Research and Archaeology Unit, Superintendence of Cultural Heritage

Jacob Saliba

Andrew pace

Francesco Vella

Sadia Ibragic

Project manager of the Horizon Europe

Krystle Farrugia

Principal Curator (Muża), Heritage Malta

Isaac Cilia Attard

Book your space

Secure Your Spot: Reserve Your Place at the Malta Maritime Museum

Seats are filling quickly, and availability is becoming limited. Don’t miss out on this opportunity—reserve your space now to ensure you don’t get left behind!

Tony Cassar

Head of Technology and Experience Development unit

Tony Cassar leads the Technology and Experience Development unit, overseeing the Digitisation Unit responsible for digitising and managing the national collection, utilizing digital assets for outreach and visitor engagement. The unit serves as Malta’s national aggregator for cultural heritage data and represents the country on the Europeana platform. Additionally, Cassar acts as Malta’s representative on the Expert Group for a common European Data Space for Cultural Heritage and participates in the TwinIT! campaign.

Kenneth Gambin

Chief Operating Officer, Heritage Malta​

Since 1992 Kenneth Gambin has been actively involved in the museums field in Malta, as a student, volunteer, teacher, curator, chief curator, chief executive officer, and presently occupies the post of chief operations officer with Heritage Malta.

Joseph Schirò

ICOM-Malta President

Joseph Schirò is the Head Emeritus of the Conservation and Restoration Division within Heritage Malta. He is the President of the Malta Map Society and editor of the Malta Map Society Journal and President of ICOM Malta of which he was a founder member. He is a member of BMASK (Bord Maniġerjali Arkivju Storiku Katidral) and a member of the European Research Centre for Book and Paper Conservation, Austria. He was co-editor of the first festschrift in Malta Liber Amicorum Dr Albert Ganado in 1994, co-author of Andersen and Malta in 1991, Fine Bookbindings in 1999, German Malta Maps in 2011, The Brocktorff Mapmakers in 2012, Pre-Siege Maps of Malta 2nd century A.D. – 1564 in 2016 and edited the book The Island of Malta and the Order of St John by Grigory Krayevsky in 2017. He has written several articles on conservation and on cartography. In 2024, MAPCo-Re (The Malta Association of Professional Conservator-Restorers) produced a Festschrift in his honour titled Custos Divitiarum: Festschrift in honour of Joseph Schirò.

Yasmin Paula Cassar

Senior Executive Officer, National Inventory, Research and Archaeology Unit, Superintendence of Cultural Heritage

Yasmin Cassar holds the position of Senior Executive Officer at the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage in Malta, overseeing Movable Cultural Property, National Inventory, Scheduling, and the Registry. With a background in Art History and a first-class Master of Arts in Preventative Conservation, coupled with eight years of professional experience in Cultural Heritage and Conservation-restoration, she has built a solid foundation for her career in the cultural sector. Yasmin leads a team responsible for evaluating the import, export, and movement of movable cultural property alongside Malta Customs, compiling a National Inventory, and monitoring the conservation of movable cultural property. Actively engaged in EU Commission Expert Groups and discussions with fellow Member States, she contributes to shaping regulations and policies governing these processes both locally and at EU level. Additionally, Yasmin also regularly participates in conferences addressing the mitigation of illicit trade in Cultural Heritage Property and believes that by remaining actively engaged in the protection of these invaluable assets, Malta can strengthen a shared commitment to preserving our cultural heritage.

Jacob Saliba

Jacob Saliba is an Multi Media artist within the digitisation Unit. Responsible for the development of Digital content in Heritage Malta’s museum experiences.

Andrew Pace

Andrew Pace is an archivist within the Collections Management Unit and the Digitisation Unit, responsible for implementing Heritage Malta’s CMS.

Francesco Vella

Francesco Vella is a Multi Media Artist within the digitisation Unit. Responsible for the 3D Scanning and 3D generation of sites or artefacts in Heritage Malta.

Saida Ibrgaic

Project manager of the Horizon Europe

Dr. Saida Ibragic, a graduate of the Faculty of Pharmacy, holds a chemistry degree and works as an associate professor at the University of Sarajevo – Faculty of Science. As an external associate, she teaches at several other faculties and leads multidisciplinary research spanning biomedicine, analytical and phytochemistry, and cultural heritage. She is the project manager of the Horizon Europe project Stone monument ensembles and the climate change impact.

Krystle Farrugia

Principal Curator (Muża), Heritage Malta

Krystle Farrugia is an art and book historian who works with the curatorial team at MUŻA on the museum display and visitor experience, coordinating collections care, development and management, research, and other day-to-day activities. She also co-leads an educational digital project about old master drawings, funded by the Getty Foundation’s ‘The Paper Project’ initiative. As a doctoral candidate, she is researching a collection of old master prints in Malta.

Isaac Cilia Attard

Isaac Cilia Attard is an undergraduate student of computer science, specialising in machine learning, and artificial intelligence, at the University of London. He prides himself in the hacker ethic, that of wanting to know how a computer system works, and how to modify it for the better. He brings this spirit to Heritage Malta, where he leads the artificial intelligence efforts at the agency. Lately, he completed a project, showcased at the recently inaugurated Malta Maritime Museum—an artificially intelligent chatbot with knowledge on the former Malta dockyard, the first of its kind for Maltese heritage. In his free time, he contributes to open source software, particularly the FreeBSD operating system, a direct descendant of the original Berkeley UNIX.