In 1991 a small group of individuals who had Malta’s cultural heritage at heart and who also felt that the country’s artistic patrimony was seriously compromised, got together to create public awareness of its extensive patrimony. It was felt that spectacular exhibitions professionally presented should be the Foundation’s initial aim and, even more importantly, that the subject of these exhibitions would be of notable interest. Objets d’art from private collections which had never been previously been viewed made up a large part of the prestigious exhibitions that followed, which were also gained international attention. These exhibitions have happily and gradually given rise to a sense of national pride, both in the viewer and the lender. Furthermore, the presentation of Malta’s exceptional cultural heritage – a rich patrimony that goes well beyond what one expects to find in such a small country – has the added bonus of conveying this message to visitors to these shores.
In January 1992, Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti was officially established under the auspices of the Ministry for Culture, and the first exhibition of Antique Maltese Clocks opened its doors to the public in May of that same year. The numerous exhibitions organised by Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti over the years have established that bringing together these hidden treasures, staging them professionally in sumptuous surroundings, and making them accessible to the viewing public, is where the Foundation’s forte lies.
The spectacular success of that first exhibition encouraged the Foundation to pursue even more numerous and greater projects. The Antique Maltese Clocks catalogue was also the first in a long series of publications on the islands’ cultural heritage, which also extends to Treasures of Malta, a magazine about the history, art and culture of Malta that is issued three times a year.