In 2001, Parliament passed a Cultural Heritage Act to promote improved management, conservation and restoration of the national cultural heritage. It guarantees greater public accessibility and appreciation of Malta’s cultural treasures and ensures cultural and educational benefits for future generations.
It provides for the following entities to take over from the Department of Culture:
- the Superintendent, which will (a) establish, update, manage and publish a national inventory of cultural property; (b) exercise surveillance over cultural property; (c) excavate and monitor excavations and (d) advise the Minister responsible for Culture;
- Heritage Malta and Heritage Gozo, responsible for ensuring that museums and other heritage property on the sister islands are conserved, restored, administered and managed in the best way possible;
- the Committee of Guarantee, created to enable and facilitate the collaboration between the different agencies with direct responsibility for the protection and management of the cultural heritage sector; and
- the National Archives, laid down by the National Archives Act of 1990, ensure that all documents of a public nature, which are no longer in use for the purpose of administration, shall be properly preserved and made reasonably accessible to the public for the purpose of study and research.
In 2006, the National Archives and the Libraries Department became two separate entities. According to a new legislation, the National Archives has become a government agency intended to “protect collective memory”. Moreover, a Council for National Archives was created in the same year, under the aegis of the Ministry of Education.