Reliving The Sacra Infermeria: Where Heritage Meets Technology


Whether we’re fully aware of it or not, we’re surrounded and living in Augmented Realities on a constant basis. Now you might be questioning whether such a statement is true, but it’s not as sci-fi as you might be making it out to be. Augmented Reality can be something as simple as an Instagram filter; it’s adding something extra to what is actually real, like a wreath of flowers to your head via the camera lens and the app’s software.

When in 2020 the Mediterranean Conference Centre opened to the public as a museum given its historical offering as a former hospital for the Knights of St. John, augmented reality might have not featured in plans the time, however, COVID-19 forced a digital rethink, leading to a purely virtual experience.

An experience like no other

Given the nature of the MCC today, some might simply not be aware of the immense historic value that it is home to. Travelling back in time from the numerous events that have been held there to a time when it was the largest ward in 16th century Europe puts some perspective on just how important it was for the Knights of St. John and to our ancestors. Therefore, it would have been a shame to not share this wealth of information with today’s generation of locals and visitors alike, and the best way of doing that is through the dedicated interactive app.

Think of the MCC Augmented Reality app in a similar way that you might do TikTok or Instagram; when you point your phone camera (while using the app) at a particular room within the building, the app will display what the room looked like in the past. But there’s more to it than just that; augmented reality videos provide historically accurate recreations of events that took place at the Sacra Infermeria; AR games can also enable users to be part of the action witnessed during the second world war.

With a total of 16 augmented reality scenes to be witnessed, it’s easier than ever to be absorbed into the Sacra Infermeria’s story. The scenes are activated once you’ve launched the app on-site and in the respective rooms where users can see the Knights of St. John going about their daily routines, breathing the life of years gone by back into these old walls. And yes, you can take pictures with them too!

The fun doesn’t stop there either

This is the only museum in Malta that has embraced technology in this way. The in-app audio guide comes in six languages, including Maltese, and two AR games relating to the Great Siege of 1565 and the Second World War, which can be enjoyed on the rooftop terrace along with all the stunning views that the Grand Harbour offers. In our opinion though, the best part of it all is the face-to-face encounter with Grand Master Jean de Valette himself in the hologram room.

Having the opportunity to interact and ask questions to one of Malta’s most important historical figures about Valletta and the Sacra Infermeria showcases the perfect marriage of heritage with technology. It’s the next step in creating a more engaged and deeper relationship with customers in a more innovative manner. It also gives interested citizens and tourists alike the opportunity to learn more about this incredible country like never before.

And it doesn’t just stop once you’ve left the MCC; the app and all its functions can be enjoyed once you’re back home too. Who wouldn’t like to have a digitally-recreated de Valette dancing in their living room?

Find out more about the AR application on the museum website.

You can download the MCC Augmented Reality app for Android here or for Apple here.