Fonds MEM - Memorja

Ettore Raffi_1_25.09.2017 Transcript_Ettore Raffi Ettore Raffi after his interview Ettore Raffi with the catch of the day Ettore Raffi on his boat Ettore Raffi fishing Ettore Raffi on his boat Lifebuoy soap Official documents with Ettore Raffi's navigations' list Navigation Logbook Giovanni Frangapane_1_24.09.2017 Transcript_Giovanni Fragapane Lampedusa Harbour Portrait of Giovanni Fragapane's mother Arco di Tito, painting by Giovanni Fragapane Giovanni Fragapane and interviewer Irene Sestili Statue of Our Lady of Lampedusa Framed photograph of Our Lady of Trapani Our Lady of Trapani and Our Lady of Lampedusa Giovanni Fragapane and interviewer Irene Sestili Giovanni Fragapane showing his paintings Frame representing the effigy of Our Lady of Porto Salvo Giovanni Fragapane and his twin brother Giovanni Fragapane's father Giovanni Fragapane's mother Salvatore Davi_1_9.11.2017 Transcript_Salvatore Davì Salvatore Davì and other fishermen on a Stella di Mare boat Salvatore Davì and crew on a fishing vessel Salvatore Davì on his fishing boat Salvatore Davì on his fishing boat in Lampedusa Salvatore Davì's boat in harbour Salvatore Davì with a friend Salvatore Davì's children on his fishing boat Jean Borg_1_07.07.2017 Jean Borg_1_07.07.2017 Jean Borg at home Jean, Anne and Maurice Despott Jean Despott and her pet dog at the beach Jean Despott and her pet dog at the beach Despott family members with an Italian prisoner of war Jean Despott in her Holy Communion dress Jean Borg, Anne Despott and Maurice Despott posing for a photograph Jean and Maurice Despott with their maid Fatimah Jean Despott and baby brother Carlo on a bench Jean Despott and baby brother Carlo on a bench Mary Callus and Anne Despott Anne Despott, her maid Inez and Mary Callus Jean Despott sat in a chair and her pet cat Mary Callus, Jean Borg and the Despott family pet dog Maurice and George Despott on a camel Maurice Despott in his Holy Communion attire Carlo and Anne Despott Jean Borg bedridden at Santo Spirito Hospital Jean Borg after her discharge from Santo Spirito hospital George, Anne and Carlo Despott on the roof of their house George Despott in uniform Laurence Mizzi_1_16.10.2017 Laurence Mizzi Laurence Mizzi with two of his brothers at St. Paul's Bay Major Henry Louis Gatt_1_08.02.2018 Henry Louis Gatt at home Henry Louis Gatt at home Henry Louis Gatt Henry Louis Gatt in uniform Maria Therese and Henry Louis Gatt wedding ceremony Maria Therese and Henry Louis Gatt wedding ceremony Maria Therese and Henry Louis Gatt wedding reception Wedding reception of Maria Therese and Henry Louis Gatt Wedding reception of Maria Therese and Henry Louis Gatt Maria Therese and Henry Louis Gatt during their honeymoon Maria Therese and Henry Louis Gatt during their honeymoon Maria Therese and Henry Louis Gatt during their honeymoon Maria Therese Gatt at Għajn Tuffieħa bay Għajn Tuffieħa bay Henry Louis Gatt at Għajn Tuffieħa bay Maria Therese Gatt at Għajn Tuffieħa bay Maria Therese Gatt at Għajn Tuffieħa bay Maria Therese Gatt at the living quarters at Għajn Tuffieħa camp Maria Therese Gatt at the living quarters at Għajn Tuffieħa camp Maria Therese Gatt in carnival costume Henry Louis Gatt in a tent during his posting in Palestine Henry Louis Gatt on an encampment during his posting in Palestine Henry Louis Gatt on an encampment during his posting in Palestine Visit of Queen Elizabeth II Visit of Queen Elizabeth II - inspection of guard of honour Postcard showing Alfred Joseph Gatt Postcard showing Maria Therese Frendo Randon Postcard showing Maria Therese Frendo Randon Gallipoli centenary of RMA captain; Sunday Times of Malta Medals awarded to Alfred Joseph Gatt and Henry Louis Gatt Obverse of 1914-15 Star awarded to Anthony Joseph Gatt Obverse of British War Medal awarded to Anthony Joseph Gatt Bottom edge of British War Medal awarded to Anthony Joseph Gatt Framed photograph of Queen Elizabeth II with the Duke of Edinburgh and army officers Medals awarded to Henry Louis Gatt Mikelina Vella Postcard showing Maria Cassar Torreggiani Postcard showing Maria Therese Frendo Randon Postcard showing a newly-married army couple
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Identity area

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  • 1997 - (Accumulation)

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Extent and medium

54 oral history subfonds, 3 private deposit subfonds (PDE_0012, PDE_0028, PDE_0030), 1 public collection (SMTTC)

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Biographical history

The initial initiatives to set up a National Archives for Malta were taken in 1971 with the setting up of Committee on the Preservation of public records chaired by Guze’ Cassar Pullicino. One year later a section housed at Casa Leone was opened up and started providing research facilities for the reading public. Initially the National Archives of Malta formed part of the Ministry for Justice and Parliamentary Affairs. A few months after its opening at Casa Leone, the archives was transferred to the Palace in Valletta. The officer in charge at that time was Architect Michael Ellul.

In January 1986, a Committee was set up by the Administrative Secretary to study practices of preservation and disposal of public records. A decision was taken to set up a proper National Archives with its main office at Rabat, in a historical building which was once the Santo Spirito Hospital. Extensive structural repairs and restoration works went into the project. The Banca Giuratale, in Mdina, was also identified as a second repository to house the records of the various Courts and Tribunals of the period of the Order of St. John, the French Occupation and the Early British Period.

Late in September 1987 work commenced on the transfer of records of the Courts of Justice from the Palace in Valletta to the Banca Giuratale in Mdina. The repository was inaugurated on 28 October 1988, and opened its doors for research soon after.

The transfer of the Palace Archives to Rabat was concluded on 28 July 1989. Dr Ugo Mifsud Bonnici, then President of Malta presided over the official opening of the National Archives on 28 May 1994. The officer in charge at that time was Mr Joe Caruana.

The first legislation regulating the National Archives was Act IV, of 1990. At that time several initiatives were taken such as the publishing of the first catalogues on CD-ROM, the inauguration of an exhibition centre; the initiation of the annual public lecture and the newsletter; the setting up of a new cataloguing unit using ISAD (G) standards; and a new computer network. A UNESCO-sponsored regional archives conference was also held in 2002.

After its first ten years of operation the management of the National Archives felt that it could fulfil its mission much better if the structures and legal framework are updated. The Maltese Parliament approved a new Archives Act (V, 2005) that came into force on 1 September 2005. This act created for the first time the post of National Archivist which is occupied by Mr Charles J. Farrugia. It also restructured the National Archives as a government entity with a distinct legal personality.

During the last eighteen years we have managed to move into three refurbished premises in Rabat, Mdina and Rabat (Gozo). Our services have improved considerably. We are now focusing on records management in government and the challenge of preserving electronic records and archives. We have worked extensively on digitization of records, which material will in the coming months be available to the reading public.

Archival history

MEMORJA traces its beginning to 22 March 2004, when the then-President of Malta, His Excellency Prof. Guido de Marco had inaugurated the 'National Memory Project' at the National Archives of Malta's Legal Documentation Section at Mdina. That event had marked the start of an extensive and ambitious project intent on becoming the Maltese Islands' main depositor of audiovisual records of national and public memory. In late-2016, following the restructuring of the project into 'MEMORJA: Oral, Sound and Visual Archive', thematic research groups were selected which initiated the National Archives' new dimension and constant communication with the community through fieldwork and meetings. Oral history and video interviews, personal photographs, documents, films and other ephemera have since been collected. As a result, more research themes have been added and volunteers have undergone training in public memory and oral tradition to carry out interviews which will be added to the project's collections in the future. Themes included are wartime experiences, the Civil Service, migration, bell-ringing, agriculture and traditional food, medicine and healthcare, transport and the sea. Because of MEMORJA's reach and collaborations, individuals and entities have thus deposited private collections which have swelled the project's holdings.

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Scope and content

MEMORJA is the oral, sound and visual archive of the National Archives of Malta (NAM). Our mission is to record life stories from people and groups who are underrepresented in the historical record. The roots of the project lie in the National Memory Project (NMP), initiated in 2004, followed by collaboration with the Public Memory Archive (PMA) at the University of Malta. Established in 2017, MEMORJA has now developed as the principal depositor of our national and public memory.

MEMORJA employs advanced methods in oral history, ethnography and cutting-edge archival approaches to collect, record, preserve and make accessible individual and shared histories passed on orally, visually and through sound. We are interested in the diversity of individual memories, life histories, community experiences and traditions, indigenous knowledge and shared historical events of the Maltese people.

MEMORJA’s oral history-trained staff and volunteers carry out continuous ethnographic fieldwork in the community, enriching our archives with a panoply of memories and recollections, personal photographs, documents, ephemera, artifacts, audio and video recordings and film reels which are generously donated, preserved and made available to all. The ubiquitous presence of our fieldworkers carrying out research and oral history interviews in the community has made the NAM ever more visible. This has generated extensive friendships and a unique relationship of trust between the National Archives and the public.

The project covers different themes related to life in, and experiences of, Malta during the twentieth century. The first five themes within which the research began are: Experiencing War: Survival, Shelter and Food; Migration: the British in Malta; Public Administration; Lampedusa and Malta Connections, and Bell-Ringing. There are many records in different formats, including analogue and digital audio recordings; photographic material (both print and digital); digital video recordings; original and digitised ephemera (diaries, press cuttings, books etc.) and written accounts in electronic format.

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System of arrangement

The part of the Fonds related to Oral History is divided into 54 Sub-fonds according to name of interviewee - the number of which will continue to increase as more interviews are created by the MEMORJA team (this is an on-going project). Each series is based on record type e.g. interviews, photographs, ephemera etc. The structure of each series is the same with all sub-fonds, and numbered as such:
Series 01: Interviews [sound and video recordings (wave, mp3, MXF and MP4), transcripts and written accounts (PDF)];
Series 02: Photographic material [analogue and digital];
Series 03: Ephemera [original and/or digital surrogates]
Series 04: Correspondence [email etc.]

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Due to the nature of the MEMORJA project, the MEMORJA Fonds is constantly evolving and there is no fixed end-date. Research themes will change and oral history interviews and their accompanying records will continue to be created/collected for the foreseeable future.

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