What if museums didn't have to have a passive, showcase-style approach with panels of information hiding the beautiful stone of the old walls? What if you could interact with the famous Knights of St John, watch them work and even take pictures with them? It sounds like a dream! But what if I told you that dream can be a reality?
Words by Denise Cassar (Tour Guide at Colour My Travel) | Extract taken from June's 2022 Il-Bizzilla Magazine | Read more here
Many of us locals here in Malta have probably watched a show, attended a company event or popped by the book festival, all of which were hosted at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta at some point in time. But while we walk through this venue for such events, do we remember that this was the holy hospital – the Sacra Infermeria – of the Knights of St John which boasted the largest ward of 16th century Europe? Well, I wouldn't blame them for forgetting, since there are no hospital beds around to make it obvious. It is exactly this fact that made the MCC realise that it is quite a shame to have such a historically important building not open to the enjoyment of the public simply because it lacks physical evidence. The public includes both the Maltese population and those of your reading this magazine who chose Malta as their holiday destination! This is where technology came in to save the day, and in July 2020 - ironically and unfortunately during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic - the MCC in Valletta opened its doors to the public for the very first time as an entirely virtual museum where the above, introductory questions have been made a reality...
Augmented Reality (AR) is a form of technology tied to a dedicated application, which makes use of a smartphone or tablet device in order to use its in-built camera to display graphics or 3D models over what can be seen in the real world. In this way and in the case of the Sacra Infermeria hospital, visitors can now download the MCC AR app on their Android or iOS devices and come on site to launch footage and graphics of the Knights of St John going about their daily routine while using the physical building as the backdrop for these scenes. The true definition of history coming to life!
Consisting of an in-app audio guide in six languages and featuring 16 of these augmented reality scenes, you are guaranteed to never hear the words "I'm bored" from your children, as they get absorbed into the rich content and take pictures with the Knights of St John. From the rooftop terrace, which offers stunning views of the beautiful Grand Harbour, you can also play two augmented reality games relating to the Great Siege of 1565 and the Second World War. Think that's cool? Just wait until you get into the hologram room and have a face-to-face encounter with the hero Grand Master Jean de Valette with the opportunity to ask him questions about his life, the building of Valletta and the role of this hospital! Malta's newest and first augmented reality museum is waiting for you to explore.
Reliving the Sacra Infermeria is Malta's only high tech museum. Book your tickets now on relivingthesacrainfermeria.com