From Cape Royds we moved on to Cape Evans, camping near the Terra Nova hut where we spent four days on the monitoring and maintenance work. There was a lot more snow at this site and the team have been very busy, excavating the snow away from the hut and exterior objects and checking the roof for snow ingress.
Part of my job was the conservation cleaning and treatment of mould growth around the hut, and this was particularly important around the exterior walls and bunk spaces. The environmental conditions inside the hut are very cold, but in the summer temperatures can rise high enough to allow mould growth; this would be damaging to the organic artefacts like the wooden boxes and the clothing and bedding on the bunks. We have also been monitoring and recording the condition of the artefacts, which has been great because I have been able to handle some amazing objects.
My favourite thing about this hut (which is all utterly wonderful!) is the wardroom table. It sits at the centre of the living space and appears in so many iconic photographs from the Terra Nova expedition, such as the one of Scott’s birthday dinner. Looking at it closely you can see the worn and scratched surface from years of intensive use in a really crowded space; for me this brings the warmth of life into the room, much more than if everything were in pristine condition.
It is important to remember in conservation that signs of use on artefacts are a huge part of their history and telling the story of the expeditions, and the AHT have done a wonderful job of preserving these living objects.