The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage’s mission is to fulfil the duties of the State in ensuring the protection and accessibility of Malta’s cultural heritage.
Definition of Cultural Heritage
The Cultural Heritage Act 2002 defines ‘cultural heritage’ as “movable and immovable objects of artistic, architectural, historical, archaeological, ethnographic, palaentological and geological importance and includes information or data relative to cultural heritage pertaining to Malta or to any other country. This includes archaeological, palaeontological or geological sites and deposits, landscapes, groups of buildings, as well as scientific collections, collections of art objects, manuscripts, books, published material, archives, audio-visual material and reproductions of any of the preceding, or collections of historical value, as well as intangible cultural assets comprising arts, traditions, customs and skills employed in the performing arts, in applied arts and in crafts and other intangible assets which have a historical, artistic or ethnographic value.”
The Cultural Heritage Act 2002 has defined a new cultural heritage framework for Malta. The main objective of this framework is to ensure that Malta’s cultural heritage is adequately protected, conserved and promoted.
Within this legal framework, the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage was established and given the mission to ensure the protection and accessibility of cultural heritage. The Act also establishes the functions of the Superintendence.
The staff of the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage presently consists of eleven employees, headed by the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage. Members of staff include specialists in various aspects of cultural heritage, as well as assisting technical staff and administrative officers.
Other entities established by the Cultural Heritage Act The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage is one of a number of entities that have been created by the Cultural Heritage Act. The Act also identifies the following entities:
- Committee of Guarantee
The Committee of Guarantee has been set up in order to ensure and facilitate the collaboration between the different agencies that have direct or indirect responsibility for the protection and management of the cultural heritage sector. It is also responsible for advising the Government on the National Strategy for Cultural Heritage.
- Heritage Malta
Heritage Malta is an operating agency, established to ensure that those elements of the cultural heritage entrusted to it are protected and made accessible to the public. Heritage Malta manages State-owned Museums and heritage sites. Heritage Malta is governed by a Board of Directors, whose role is to determine the policy and strategy of the Agency, to manage its human resources and finances, and to ensure collaboration with local and foreign bodies necessary for achieving the aims of the Agency.
- Originally established as an independent body, the Malta Centre for Restoration was incorporated within Heritage Malta through an amendment of the Cultural Heritage Act (II. 2005.50). The Malta Centre for Restoration ’s mission is to become a centre for the teaching, training, research and practice of conservation, restoration, maintenance, management and presentation of the cultural heritage. It is also responsible for the provision of conservation and restoration services and for consultation as may be required by other bodies, both public and private.
- National Forum
The National Forum is an annual event, which brings together entities responsible for, or interested in, the preservation of cultural heritage, to discuss the state of cultural heritage in general. The entities include the Superintendence of Cultural Heritage, Heritage Malta, the Malta Centre for Restoration, the Committee of Guarantee, the Catholic Cultural Heritage Commission and other Religious Cultural Heritage Commissions, Government departments and entities, Local Councils, NGOs, the University of Malta, and other educational institutions, specialists, consultants, and any other parties registering their interest in writing to the Minister.
- Cultural Heritage Fund
The Cultural Heritage Fund is a body corporate with a separate legal personality, which receives and manages monies paid to it under the provisions of the Cultural Heritage Act, as well as other assets that may be donated by non-governmental sources. These are used for research, conservation or restoration of cultural heritage. The Fund is administered by the Committee of Guarantee.