The new national museum of art in Malta, a flagship project for Valletta 2018 – European Capital of Culture and is pioneered by Heritage Malta, was launched this evening. The chosen name, MUŻA, whilst being an acronym and the Maltese word for inspiration, is also a clear reference to the muses – the mythological creatures from classic antiquity inspiring creativity. The project seeks to make art accessible to all, relocating art and creativity from a priceless commodity to a resource of relevance to the community.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said, “MUŻA is a gift to Malta in the occasion of Valletta 2018 as the European Capital of Culture. A gift for everyone. A gift for our children who as from this year will be able to bring their parents and it will be the children that will provide their parents with a free entry, not the other way round. Now, we have a place in our Capital City, which truly does justice to our culture scene as a people, despite being the smallest Nation State in the European Union and also one of the smallest around the world”

Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Owen Bonnici commended this ambitious EUR 10 million project partially financed through EU funds. He stated, “this building is a real-life testament of our vision and legacy, which we wish to pass on to future generations.”

“In the past years, our decision making process has led to the strengthening of our investment within this sector, both in a financial way, and through more professionalisation within the sector, whilst we provided more space for artists and creatives, so that we keep on nurturing their talents both locally and internationally,” Minister Bonnici continued.

Valletta 2018 Foundation Chairman Jason Micallef said: “The Valletta 2018 flagship project MUŻA has officially opened its doors. This is another important link in a chain of projects transforming Valletta as part of the European Capital of Culture programme and a legacy project which will be enjoyed by generations to come.”

The extensive rethinking and rebranding of MUŻA was announced in December 2013. MUŻA seeks to adopt and purposely develop a participatory museum model for the arts, with particular reference to its national museum remit. By highlighting narratives, MUŻA aims to empower participants to experience, engage and co-create irrespective of knowledge levels, turning traditional museum audiences into participants. MUŻA seeks to be a significant community asset promoting social cohesion, intercultural dialogue, creativity and inspiration.

MUŻA can be seen as a hybrid of public spaces, galleries and retail facilities, equally relevant within one interconnecting weave that defines MUŻA as a national community art museum. MUŻA also serves as an art gateway to our capital city and country.

The story content of MUŻA can be classified in four parts, Mediterranean, Europe, Empire, and the Artist. The museum’s collection has well over 20,000 works of art.

This community art museum’s interpretation strategy is to be a knowledge ladder; acknowledge the museum’s visitors as participants, to have a shared museum experience as co-creators of knowledge; to recognise the diverse motivations that might inspire participants to engage with art and culture; to cultivate the ability to think critically and analytically; and to promote social bridging amongst diverse cultures and communities.

This museum runs on a new green-powered energy efficient infrastructural system to optimise the passive energy efficient features present in the historical building.

All these objectives are in relation to the experience MUŻA has to offer in its totality, including the museum’s vision, which is communicated through outreach and initiatives, which go beyond the venue.