St John’s Co-Cathedral museum project – Dr Philip Farrugia Randon
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“When the St John’s Co-Cathedral embarked on the new museum project it had on the forefront the preservation of St John’s Co-Cathedral and its priceless art collections as the focus of the extension and refurbishment of its splendid museum.
The cemetery in the courtyard, said to hold the remains of knights who fell in the Great Siege transferred here from Birgu, was completely destroyed by enemy action during the Second World War. Presently there is an ugly concrete platform constructed post war in the 1960’s with a commemorative monument.
The Foundation’s plan specially focuses on refurbishing this area. The concrete platform will be redefined with a specifically designed elegant marble podium that will be engraved with the names of those knights transferred here.
The modern arches built in the 1960’s will serve as an entrance and exit to the museum, directly in front of the commemorative monument, which will be given a lot of attention as the visitors tour will start exactly from this point with the audio guide’s explanation highlighting it’s history.
It will not be covered, built on and certainly no disturbance of graves or any desecration will take place. The view of the courtyard from street level on Merchant Street will be enhanced to evoke interest and allow better circulation around the monument. Passers-by will be able to better enjoy the view of the interior space.
The chamber exhibiting the largest seventeenth-century tapestry set based on the creations of the world-renowned artist Peter Paul Rubens will be on the first floor above the arches.
The Foundation is obliged to correctly display this dazzling set of tapestries in the right conservation environment where they can be enjoyed and studied after the painstakingly delicate and costly restoration, which is now, almost complete.
The Foundation is a non-profit making organisation which is continuously investing all its proceeds towards the restoration, conservation and the much needed new museum to provide the space and means to give the visitors an educational and comfortable visit that is now expected by the experienced travellers.
This project of national importance will ensure that all Maltese citizens will be made proud of this unique heritage site.”
Dr Philip Farrugia Randon
The St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation.
Photo: Artistic impression of St John’s Co-Cathedral courtyard