HMML Reaches Milestone Set by NEH in $2.25 Million Challenge
August 22, 2005
COLLEGEVILLE, Minn. – The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML), Saint John’s University, announces reaching the second benchmark set by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in a challenge grant to raise $2.25 million for endowment of its Malta Study Center. As part of a four-year fundraising drive launched in August 2003 the NEH provides a $1 match for every $4 raised by HMML for its Malta Study Center. The NEH set fundraising benchmarks that must be met in order to receive the match. The endowment will fund a curatorial position, acquisitions, programming, and preservation of rare manuscripts and documents related to Malta.
HMML is one the few libraries in the United States that actively collects books and other works on paper pertaining to the history of Malta and of the Knights of Malta, and which researches the role of Malta as a crossroads between the Christian and Muslim world. The NEH evaluators – research librarians, scholars in the field, and experts in long-term planning for the humanities -- lauded HMML for “undertaking the Herculean but vitally important task of preserving the documented history of Malta.” HMML’s Malta Study Center collection currently contains more than 16,000 documents, dossiers of documents and a research collection of 800 books from Malta. HMML recently began preserving the archives of the Grand Magistry of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta held in Rome, including diplomatic correspondence with the papal court and important genealogical documents.
“This creates an extraordinary opportunity for historians around the world. The patents of nobility alone, used to demonstrate the lineage required for those wishing to become Knights, will be of tremendous interest to anyone studying the history of European noble families,” according to Dr. Theresa Vann, the Joseph S. Micallef Curator who oversees the Malta Study Collection at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library and spent the 2004–05 academic year lecturing at the University of Malta on a Fulbright Scholar grant.
“A great deal of previously unavailable information will now be accessible through HMML’s digital image Web site, www.hmml.org,” said the Rev. Columba Stewart, OSB, executive director of the HMML. “The gifts that have come to us in support of the NEH Challenge Grant have a direct impact on how accessible these rare manuscripts are to anyone around the globe.”