Victoria: Her Life and Legacy – Video

We are pleased to share with you the video of the latest public talk at Il-Ħaġar Museum.

Victoria: Her Life and Legacy, on the 200th anniversary of the Queen-Empress’ birth.

The public talk, by Rev. Geoffrey George Attard, was followed by readings from the Victorian literature by George Camilleri, David Camilleri and Antonella Bugeja.

The event was held under the distinguished patronage of H. E. the British High Commissioner Mr Stuart Gill.

New faces at our Museum

Frequent visitors to Il-Ħaġar Museum and locals alike might have noticed three new faces roaming around the cultural centre and its surroundings these past few days. This is because for the next two months our team has been boosted by the inclusion of Hakima, Karima and Pauline, three French students who are visiting us for their yearly internship. Here, they introduce themselves in their own words:

Hakima Adam

Hi, my name is Hakima, am 20 years old and come from Arles, in the region of Provence. I chose to do my internship in Malta to improve my level of English, live a human experience abroad and to develop my sense of relationship. My attention is focused on Il-Ħaġar Museum, because it is a museum that allows the visitor to learn about Gozo, and focuses on cultural, religious and natural aspects. These are aspects that I love, that’s why I wanted to apply my skills for my training and to support the management. Beyond this purely professional aspect, members of this museum were able to guide us and put us at ease in order to accomplish our missions to perfection.

Karima Youssoufa

Hi, I am Karima, a student from Marseille who chose to do an internship at the Il-Ħaġar Museum. Why? Very good question 😊. Before arriving here, I did not know anything about Malta (and Gozo). I just knew that Malta was a paradise and a very touristic island according to what I heard…which turned out to be true, with beautiful natural setting including many beaches and beautiful landscape and that its inhabitants are very hospitable and very relaxed. My internship could only go well with the people around me, to learn and deepen my skills and so blossom in my career

Pauline Semin

My name is Pauline, I am 22 years old and I come from Metz. I am in a business school and I chose to do my second-year internship in Malta because it is an accessible and beautiful destination. In addition, I wanted to improve my English, and I wanted to be defrosted. I needed to have a professional experience abroad, to broaden my culture and discover other ways of life. Working at Il-Ħaġar Museum in Gozo seemed interesting to me because it relates the culture and the history of Gozo. I do not know much about art, so working in a museum can allow me to be interested in it more. I also like being versatile in the museum, being able to help with certain daily tasks. In addition, I appreciate the mentality of the inhabitants who are very welcoming. The museum staff was able to put us at ease very quickly.

Gozo Alive at Il-Ħaġar Museum

Il-Ħaġar Museum and Cultural Centre is taking part in the special Gozo Alive weekend through temporary exhibitions and other events, including:

  • Ferroni & Coccetta: Exploring Light
  • Gozo Alive Philatelic Covers prepared by the Gozo Philatelic Society
  • Ave Verum Corpus – crucifixes
  • Expectant and Mishap multimedia exhibition by Stephania Grima and Giuseppe Attard.

On Saturday 4 May, the cultural centre will remain open till midnight with numerous guided tours. These also cover the interesting permanent exhibits, including coins, religious artefacts, statues, paintings, square piano, Pope Francis’s cassock as cardinal and other pontifical apparel and documents, and the Joseph Vella Music Archive.


In the morning of the 4th, there will be sessions between 10:00 and noon with Authors of Melitensia publications who will be able to discuss their work and sign copies at reduced prices. This event is being held in collaboration with Midsea Books Ltd.

At noon Taste of Gozo, featuring local delicacies, will be held on the panoramic roof-top.  Booking for this event is not essential but is recommended. 

Entrance to Il-Ħaġar – Heart of Gozo remains free of charge.

Curator honoured with “Gieħ ir-Repubblika”

This 13th December was a special day for our museum, Il-Ħaġar, as its founder and curator Mgr Joseph Farrugia was made Member of the National Order of Merit at the Investiture Ceremony which took place at The Palace, Valletta.

Mgr Joseph Farrugia, born in Victoria, Gozo, was educated in state schools, and studied philosophy and theology at the Sacred Heart Seminary. In 1978, Mgr Farrugia was ordained priest and continued his postgraduate studies at the Pontificia Universitas Gregoriana, Rome, where he obtained a Licentiate in Dogmatic Theology and a Doctorate in Theology.

In 1983, he joined the academic staff of the Sacred Heart Seminary, and in 1988 he joined the Faculty of Theology at the University of Malta. He introduced a university evening course in Christian theology of Suffering, and was active at the University of the Third Age, both in Malta and Gozo. In 1992, Mgr Farrugia was involved in the setting up of the University Gozo Campus, where he gave the very first course in Mediterranean civilizations and religions. He also served as archpriest of St George’s Basilica in Victoria between 1998 and 2007.

Mgr Farrugia has been deeply involved in the promotion of Gozo’s culture. He is the founder of the renowned Laudate Pueri Choir, and he also collaborated in the launching of the Victoria International Arts Festival. He co-founded the Fondazzjoni Belt Victoria that created the Il-Ħaġar Museum, the first interactive and state of the art museum in Gozo and has set up many monumental inscriptions honouring Gozitan events and eminent personalities.

Mgr Farrugia is chaplain to the Victoria Scout Group and to the La Stella Philharmonic Society. Following an appeal for priests, he is currently working as vicar in four parishes, and also as replacement priest in another parish of the diocese of Arles and Aix-en-Provence, France. Mgr Farrugia is also Prelate of Honour to His Holiness.

French Donation for the Museum

The latest donation to Il-Ħaġar Museum was made by French artist Isabelle Gavoty-Ravanas during a visit that she made on 24 October 2018.

The French sculptor, accompanied by her husband Mr Dominique Ravanas, was given a tour of the museum by curator Mgr Dr Joseph Farrugia. Mgr Farrugia is currently active in the region of Provence in France. He was on one his regular visits to Gozo during which his main activity concerned management and operations at the Museum.

Mr and Mrs Ravanas reside in one of the Provence parishes where Mgr Farrugia is assistant priest.

Isabelle Gavoty-Ravanas presented the bust of a playful little girl that she identified with  Hystée, queen of the elves. This bust in included in the book Balades étoilées, her fifth, featuring 33 sculptures using various media, including bronze.

Since the dawn of time, Hystée is the chief of the little elves and joyously dances through life in the tireless communication of life to all. Hystée, the sweet reflection of Agape love, gives abundant love. Mgr Farrugia thanked Mrs Ravanas on behalf of the Museum. Also present were FBV chair Mr Antoine Vassallo and other members of the Museum administration.

Special weekend at Il-Ħaġar Museum

We’re in for an exciting weekend at Il-Ħaġar Museum, with events kicking off the seventeenth edition of Festival Mediterranea, an annual celebration of culture let off at the very heart of the Mediterranean, on the history laden island of Gozo.

On Saturday the 20th of October, at 11:00, Godwin Vella gives a public talk with the theme “Early Modern Rabat: Continuity and Change”. Entrance is free of charge, and seat reservations can be made by emailing events@heartofgozo.org.mt.

On Sunday the 21st, the Laudate Pueri Choir sings the 11:00 mass at St George’s Basilica, which will be for the repose of Mro Joseph Vella, the artistic director of Festival Mediterranea, who passed away earlier this year.

Right after the liturgy, the Hon. Dr Justyne Caruana, Minister for Gozo, opens the exhibition “Teatru Astra: Gozo’s Trailblazer”, marking the theatre’s golden jubilee, at Il-Ħaġar Museum.

A 68-page full-colour publication (Il-Ħaġar Gems series, No. 3) about Teatru Astra will be launched during the opening of the exhibition, and will be available against a donation of €10, at Il-Ħaġar Museum.

We look forward to welcoming you at Il-Ħaġar this weekend.

Opposition Delegation visits Il-Ħaġar Museum

An official delegation of the Opposition visited Il-Ħaġar Museum on Saturday, March 24. The Delegation, led by the Hon. Mr David Agius, Deputy Leader, was warmly welcomed at the entrance of the museum by Fondazzjoni Belt Victoria directors Rev. Can. George J. Frendo, Mr Joseph Borg and Mr Anthony Zammit, together with a number of young volunteers and supporters who at the time were working in the museum office.

Amongst others, the Delegation included the Hon. Dr Chris Said, Opposition Spokesperson for Gozo, and MPs David Stellini, Marthese Portelli and Frederick Azzopardi.

The visit lasted for about one hour and included a guided tour of the museum.

Il-Ħaġar Museum hails Mro Joseph Vella: “A Life for Music”

The sudden loss of music genius Professor Joseph Vella has been commented upon and commemorated widely locally and overseas, highlighting one aspect or other. Il-Ħaġar Museum curator Mgr Dr Joseph Farrugia had rightly hailed him “a giant of contemporary Maltese culture” while introducing three days of celebrations in his honour – just hours before Mro Vella left us.

Fondazzjoni Belt Victoria cannot ignore the close relationship with is-Surmast of so many directors and members. All this climaxed on Saturday 24 February with the inauguration of the Joseph Vella Music Archive now hosted permanently in our Museum “Il-Ħaġar” – the result of a long labour of love.

During the celebratory lunch on Sunday, the maestro repeated that he still had so many plans. But the Lord responded that he had done enough!

We are happy that in the Joseph Vella Music Archive at Il-Ħaġar Museum the people of Malta and Gozo have a memorial for all to visit and research.  A temporary photo-and-poster exhibition will remain for a few more days. Those attending the funeral (this Saturday from 2 pm) will be able to visit it and leave their thoughts in a “memorial book” inside the museum. Some copies are still available of a full-colour book we published giving an overview of Joseph Vella’s “Life for Music”.

(Photos credits: Sam Cefai)