Making culture accessible to all
One of our priorities is that of making culture accessible to all. We have implemented several measures and schemes to make this possible. Results are very encouraging.
Owen Bonnici is the Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government
We are always planning to adopt and implement more of these initiatives. Let me remind you of the success we are having with Heritage Malta’s Heritage Passport.
Just after 100 days from the Heritage Passport launch, there was an enthusiastic response of 7,000 students, who collected their Heritage Malta Passports, and a total of 31,000 adults and students visited the Agency’s attractions and sites.
I reiterate that this scheme has proven to be a positive testimony of local culture appreciation and national pride and through such initiatives, we keep on providing more gateways to our culture and heritage for our younger generations, for them to appreciate our history and numerous sites depicting our country’s story.
We are committed to keep on strengthening our local heritage, which forms an intrinsic part of our national identity, for everyone to appreciate.
The Heritage Passport provides a formidable opportunity for those students who have a love for culture and provides them and two adults with unlimited and free access to all the Agency’s sites and museums (except Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum).
Following the success of the Heritage Malta Student Passport scheme and feedback received from within the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government, decided to launch a similar scheme aimed at senior citizens - the Heritage Malta Senior Passport.
Through this initiative, we are ensuring more accessibility for senior citizens to explore our culture and heritage. Our history forms an intrinsic part of our identity, and our strategy is to make sure that everyone can truly appreciate and enjoy these sites and locations. We are committed to keeping on strengthening this ever-growing sector that is truly appreciated by all.
This initiative complements the previous one aimed at students. With this passport, an elder and two accompanying youths will have free and unlimited access to all Heritage Malta sites and museums (except the Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum). This scheme will be supported by the Local Councils’ Association and a memorandum of understanding will be signed in the coming days to effectively implement this scheme.
With these two passports, the Ministry is covering a large section of the population – students, youths and the elderly - and granting them free access to its Heritage Malta sites.
These are initiatives aimed to make our culture accessible to all. Having said this, one also
has to bear in mind that periodically several sites are open to the public free of charge – another initiative which is now quite popular and very well attended by all.
As for the Heritage Malta Senior Passport, all individuals who are aged 60+ are invited to call with their identity card at their local councils to apply for Heritage Malta’s Senior Passport. The local council staff will enrol them in the system, and the passport together with an information leaflet will be sent by post within 10 working days.
Heritage Malta’s Senior Passport holders can enjoy free and unlimited visits to 27 sites including prehistoric temples and caves, historic houses and prisons, fortresses and palaces, and a selection of museums relating to nature, archaeology, maritime, war, and art. The passport will be stamped on each visit since with every eight stamps collected, a reward will be given to the holder, for a total of three rewards.
This new Heritage Malta scheme, which will start during the month of May, is offering a unique opportunity for elders to connect and share authentic and meaningful experiences with the younger generation. It is also a new way to turn ordinary days into extraordinary moments.
These two passports are just two initiatives. There is also the students’ Culture Pass – a Government electoral promise launched in 2016.
Broadened to include all kindergarten, primary and secondary school students, this scheme gives students access to Malta’s culture in an artistic format.
The primary aim of this initiative is to provide all students with the opportunity to attend a cultural activity at least once a year. Moreover, as part of this activity, students will also be able to participate in a workshop where students can benefit from an interactive experience together with artists and therefore they will have the opportunity to appreciate and understand more the different forms of art. Through this initiative, our young ones will begin to appreciate different forms of artistic expression leading to a more creative potential amongst the students. This was also seen weeks back, when students engaged themselves in workshops with the main artists participating in this year’s Venice Biennale.
These initiatives are designed to lead future generations to start participating actively in the cultural scene, which in recent years has seen an unprecedented revival, and to better engage our elderly in the cultural sector.
We are making positive strides forward in the cultural sector, and comments from people in the field are encouraging. The ministry will continue to plan and implement more measures and schemes to make sure that culture is accessible to all, by all possible means.
The ministry will safeguard this rich heritage, not only by preserving it, not only by leaving it as a legacy to our future generations, but by making sure that our rich historical patrimony is enjoyed by all during their lifetime.
I augur that all senior citizens will apply and pick up their heritage passport and delve into the world of the inheritance handed down by former generations.
I take this occasion to wish the editor, employees and readers of The Malta Independent a Happy and Blessed Easter.