The collection is housed in the Auberge de Provence, one of the first and most important buildings to be erected in Malta’s baroque capital city, Valletta, after the Great Siege in the late 16th century.
The construction of the Auberge was probably entrusted to the local architect Gerolamo Cassar (1520-86). Among the more captivating features of the Auberge is the large top floor salon with its richly painted walls and wooden beamed ceiling. Over the centuries, the Auberge has undergone other architectural changes but it remains one of the best preserved residences of the Knights.
The building served as the main residence for the Provençal knights of the Order of St John. Following the departure of the Order from Malta, the property was administered by the French during their brief occupation of the Islands. It was later on taken over by the British Government and served as military barracks, a hotel, a Union Club, an auction house and, eventually, as a museum.
The building was inauguralted as the National Museum in 1958 when it housed the archaeological as well as the Fine Arts collection, which is now in another palace nearby.
To appreciate the skill of the temple builders, we recommend you visit the various sites. A tour of the National Museum of Archaeology is an excellent introduction and starting point for your discovery of Malta’s fascinating prehistory. It is the Museum’s exhibits of personal possessions and ritual objects that really bring the periods to life and bring us closer to the men and women who fashioned and used them.