Conservation Team Winter-Over
In a first since 2014, our winter conservation team of four conservators – Jane Hamill, Shannah Rhynard-Geil, Belinda Hager, and Conor Tulloch have wintered-over in Antarctica.
The team have carried out retreatment and treatment of approximately 1000 objects collected from the historic expedition bases of Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton. The team have worked hard to resolve issues such as reversing previous coatings, and have progressed and developed some advanced treatment techniques for the Trust, including desalination, and air abrasion.
Conservator Belinda Hager says, “These objects were amongst the first conserved by the Trust, but after 16 years in challenging conditions, some have re-corroded or become compromised in other ways. With our well-resourced conservation laboratory, we will carry out conservation treatments and prepare them to be taken back to the explorer bases next summer season.”
The conservators will remain at New Zealand’s Scott Base until October 2022.
Winter Conservation Team member Shannah Rhynard-Geil works in the AHT lab at Scott Base. © AHT/Fly On The Wall Images
Summer 2022-23 Conservation Season
Lead Conservator Jane Hamill packages artefacts for transport to Scott Base for treatment by the Winter Conservation Team. © AHT/Nicola Stewart
To support the ongoing conservation of the Ross Island explorer bases, this summer the Trust will have a team of five on-Ice led by Collections Conservation Manager Lizzie Meek, including a heritage carpenter, two artefact conservators, and a building conservation support person.
The main focus of the work programme will be returning to the huts the artefacts conserved over winter 2022, and continuing work to stabilise the wooden storage boxes and associated corroding food cans on the south wall of Shackleton’s Nimrod hut at Cape Royds.
At Scott’s Terra Nova hut at Cape Evans work will focus on documenting and stabilising the objects revealed by the extreme thaw of last summer, as well as snow and ice mitigation around the building. Another major task this season is to rationalise Trust conservation equipment currently stored in workshop, lab and storage containers at Scott Base, as the amount of storage space available to the Trust on-Ice will be reduced for the duration of Antarctica New Zealand’s Scott Base rebuild programme.