Museum of Natural History

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National Museum of Natural History View map

Situated within the fortified city of Mdina, the 18th century palace designed in Parisian Baroque style, has a long story to tell.

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Description

In 1973, the building was officially inaugurated as the National Museum of Natural History. The main responsibility of the museum is the acquisition, collection and conservation of natural history material, with importance given to local biota.

Situated within the fortified city of Mdina, the 18th century palace designed in Parisian Baroque style, has a long story to tell. Restructured by Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena in 1726, Vilhena Palace has also served as a temporary hospital during the 1837 cholera outbreak, as a sanatorium for British troops in 1860, and as a hospital for tuberculosis patients in the early twentieth century.

Display areas cover various topics including local geology and palaeontology, human evolution, exotic mammals, marine fauna, insects, shells and birds. Dioramas are used to showcase different Maltese habitats such as the local cliff habitat of birds, traditional rubble walls, and the diversity of animals which frequent the Islands’ valleys.

The L. Mizzi Hall is dedicated to minerals and shows just a small part of Lewis Mizzi’s wide collection. 850 pieces of rocks and minerals, with both raw material and worked pieces of art and jewellery, are exhibited in this area.

Other highlights at the museum include the focus on the ecological importance of the islands of Filfla, Fungus Rock, St. Paul’s and Comino, a vast collection of birds, and the largest squid captured in Maltese waters.

Other Heritage Malta sites in the vicinity: Domvs Romana and St Paul’s Catacombs

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