Tunnara Maritime Museum – an EU investment in our cultural heritage

DOI / Anthony Sultana

Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia and the Mellieħa Local Council launched the Tunnara Museum project which is benefitting from an EU investment of €400,000 for restoration works which will reinstate the Westreme Battery which holds the museum.

DOI / Anthony Sultana

“Structural interventions and extraordinary works like these mean that future generations will continue to benefit from this building. If it weren’t for this investment, the site would be lost forever and only remain memory. For this reason, I am proud to say that through EU funds we are once again investing in our cultural heritage, and in this case assuring that the building is restored to its former glory and ensure that the Tunnara Museum remains within this historical building,” he said.

It will also include the restoration of the World War II post and defence light post, which are located next to the battery.

The museum depicts the history of the Westreme battery and the mattanza – a traditional way of catching the Mediterranean bluefin tuna, used only in Malta, Sicily, and Sardinia. 

DOI / Anthony Sultana

The Parliamentary Secretary explained that the museum holds a number of original artefacts and a large display of different nets and tools used in the traditional mattanza, making it the only museum of its kind in Malta.

The tender for the civil works has been recently awarded.

Apart from the external civil works, the Tunnara Museum will also be upgraded to create interactive spaces. The museum will host an exhibition sub-divided into three main sections dedicated to the people and the building, the sea and fishing.

“The battery will be made more attractive for tourists due to this restoration project and the embellishment of the surrounding area, together with the introduction of an interactive interpretation centre. In this sense, the project is not only an investment in our cultural heritage for the benefit of Maltese families, but also in our unique touristic product,” Parliamentary Secretary Farrugia said.

It is expected that on completion of the project, there will be an increase of circa 1,000 visitors to the site. The project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund.