The Inquisitor’s Palace was erected in the 1530’s as the civil law courts of the Order of St. John soon after the Knights arrived in Malta. Although its successive occupants changed much in the structure of the building, the Inquisitor’s Palace remains an architectural gem, representative of the chequered history and European heritage of the Islands.
The Inquisitor’s Palace is now home to the museum of Ethnography, focusing on the popular devotions and religious values latent in Maltese ethnic identity and culture up to the present day. Careful historical reconstruction of the palace is under way based on extensive research of documents in the Inquisition archives in Malta and at the Vatican. In addition to the display areas in the tribunal room, the prison complex and the kitchen, which are already restored, there is a permanent exhibition on the impact of the Inquisition on Maltese society. The exhibition studies themes such as the Eucharist, the Holy Family confession, preaching and the cult of saints.