Malta’s historical heritage is something our tourism board keeps banging on about. And you can’t catch and Air Malta flight without being bashed over the head with some drone-enhanced video about how beautiful Malta is.
Well, it’s time to forget about all that, at least for a little bit. We would like to divert your attention to some of our museums. But these are not the museums you’re likely to see plastered all across the aforementioned promotional material. Rather, these are cute, quirky and/or downright weird spots you probably never thought of visiting.
Striking off both ‘cute’ and ‘weird’ (or at least, unexpected) off our list of requirements for this, erm, list, the Tunnara Museum does what it says on the tin. Ah wait, chances are you’re not really sure what tunnara means… Well, it’s the fishing net used to catch tuna, and this small but picturesque little museum in Mellieha charts the history of the practice in Malta.
“A very atmospheric museum with its small size and amount of items,” said one Trip Advisor reviewer, while another lamented that “it’s not very practical for large groups”. So there’s that.
Let’s face it, this is a poor man’s (child’s?) Disneyland, but we should celebrate what we’ve got, right? It is — after all — the second-largest Playmobil factory in the world, and the Guardian even saw it fit to report on how it “captured children’s imagination“. Yes, okay, this Hal Far venue is technically a theme park, and not a museum, but if you’re a kid it’s much the same, only more fun.
There ain’t nothing like a spot of communal love to brighten up the hearts of the jaded — and online content writers are the most jaded of all, I’ll have you know — and the Zabbar Sanctuary Museum hits that sweet spot good and proper, as it’s run by six volunteers from Zabbar with the town’s parish priest at their head. The museum, open from 09:00 till noon every day, hosts a variety of religious artifacts and paintings, some of them by the likes of Giuseppe Cali and Mattia Preti.
The desire to visit “historical” prisons for shits and giggles while avoiding real-life prisons in our non-tourist lives remains confusing as ever, but there we are. Originally built in the 1860s to “house” naval prisoners, the structure is now a historical oddity that hosts a regular ‘Xtreme’ metal festival, proving that there’s life in the old dog yet.
Unlike some of the other babies on this list, this new kid on the block has style and accessibility in its favour. Located in the heart of Valletta — though isn’t nearly everything “in the heart of Valletta”? Have you noticed this? — this freshly opened showcase of Malta’s postal history will get those stamp-licking glands flowing again, whether you like it or not.
Okay, shit just got real creepy, real fast. But if creepy’s your thing, The Museum of Toys is located in Xaghra, Gozo.