The Trust recently launched its digital image archive Icy Heritage, a global digital heritage asset, and the culmination of a two-year project that unveils images from the last 21 years of the Trust’s Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project (RSHRP) in Antarctica and our Inspiring Explorers™ programmes.
The project involved the Trust’s digital collections team processing over 200,000 images from the Trust’s archives, with over 70,000 of those meticulously researched and catalogued before being uploaded to our long term secure digital archive. Most of the images record conservation detail as part of work processes, however a selection has been made publicly accessible for the first time through our Icy Heritage portal. Initially a selection of 10,000 have been made public and this number will continue to grow.
Trust Educator and Collections Advisor, Anne Gabrielsson, found working through the images in the digital collection a remarkable experience.
“As the collections team made their way through the images from each conservation season, we saw how the work of our conservators brought more than 20,000 artefacts back from the brink, and our highly skilled heritage carpentry teams used ‘out of the box’ thinking to make the huts weather tight. I recommend browsing images of the Venesta cases outside Shackleton’s Nimrod hut though the years, or the work to remove ice from under the floor of Scott’s Terra Nova hut. It will blow your mind!” said Anne.
The launch event for Icy Heritage, held in Ōtautahi Christchurch on 31 October, brought together Trust stakeholders, supporters and heritage professionals eager to explore the depths of the archive.
The event highlighted the pivotal role Icy Heritage will play in showcasing the Trust’s mission to conserve, share and encourage the spirit of exploration. The audience then had a chance to explore Icy Heritage first-hand and gain deeper insights into the Trust’s work.
Ella Beckett, Trust Digital Collections and Data Coordinator, guided guests through their first experience with Icy Heritage. “Users were excited to see inside the explorer bases in more detail than previously available. Those lucky enough to have visited Antarctica in the past were delighted to revisit the huts and be reminded of details they had seen on their own trips.” said Ella.
Icy Heritage is a dynamic resource, serving diverse audiences. Its value spans heritage professionals, conservators, the Antarctic community, academics, researchers, students, content creators, and learners of all ages.
Trust Collections Conservation Manager, Lizzie Meek, emphasised the significance of the database for their work. “As well as being a secure archive for our critical conservation record images, the ability to search Icy Heritage by specific hut, area, or subject instead of opening many, many folders is already making the Conservation team’s lives so much easier and more efficient. The project has absolutely exceeded our expectations,” said Lizzie.
The Trust is grateful for the support of the New Zealand Lotteries Grants Board for their match funding of the project.