The Malta Centre for Restoration (MCR) was set up in order to promote training programmes in a number of disciplines to Maltese students so as to ensure that the cultural heritage of the Maltese Islands will be adequately safeguarded in the coming years. By means of these programmes MCR is providing teaching and training in the conservation and restoration of paintings; stone, metals and ceramics; textiles; and books and works of art on paper at professional, technician and craftsmanship level. MCR have for this purpose set up an extremely well-equipped range of diagnostic and restoration laboratories in their Conservation Division, housed in the former British Naval Hospital (BIGHI), a key example of 19th century colonial architecture rising majestically on a very prominent site overlooking Grand Harbour.
This programme was carried out with the support of financial assistance given to Malta within the framework of the Fourth Protocol between the Republic of Italy and Malta for the period 1995-2000. Most of this equipment was supplied by VIROC INTERNATIONAL LTD in conjunction with their Italian partners BRESCIANI SrL. This was followed by the supply of other Diagnostic and Restoration equipment and materials to the Conservation Laboratory of the National Museum of Archaeology and to the Armoury at the Palace in Valletta. As of March 2005 following an amendment by Government back in November 2004, The Malta Centre for Restoration was officially absorbed by Heritage Malta.