About the conservators

Antarctic conservation winter team 2010

Jane from Ireland

(working in Antarctica from February 2010 to August 2010)

Jane, part of the AHT winter 2010 conservation team

I initially studied archaeology and Greek and Roman civilisation at University College Dublin and have worked in archaeology for a number of years, mainly in Ireland but also in Iceland.

I then decided to study object conservation at Cardiff University. During this course, I interned at the National Museum of Ireland and the Museum of London. Since then I have worked with the Medieval Ghor Archaeological Project in Afghanistan and in the organic artefacts section of the British Museum.

I enjoy working on exciting and challenging projects like the one in Afghanistan and the archaeological surveys in the bogs of Ireland. Working with the Antarctic Heritage Trust on the historic huts is going to be an amazing experience.

Mindy from Canada

(working in Antarctica from February 2010 to August 2010)

Mindy, from Canada, who is part of the winter 2010 conservation team

My interest in history developed at an early age – almost as soon as I could read, I was hooked! That interest naturally evolved to include a love of archaeology and conservation. Many books later, I received an honours degree in Anthropology (Archaeology) and completed the Collections Conservation and Management course at Sir Sandford Fleming College.

I’ve had several opportunities to apply all of that reading: an archaeological conservation internship at Colonial Williamsburg, several seasons at Fort William Historical Park, volunteer terms at the Canadian Canoe Museum and the Methodist Church of New Zealand Archives, and a year-and-a-half as part of Canterbury Museum’s 'Blue Whale Conservation Team'.

It’s a great honour to return to the ice as a member of the Winter 2010 conservation team after taking part in the Winter 2009 season and assisting in the preservation of AHT’s Reserve Collection (2008-2009). I’m really looking forward to working with Nicola, Georgina, Jane, and the rest of the AHT team during the Antarctic winter months.

Georgina from the UK

(working in New Zealand from August 09 to February 2010 then in Antarctica from February to August 2010)

Georgina from the UK

So here I am in Antarctica at last. I have spent the last 6 months working on the Reserve Collection at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, and am now very excited to be wintering over on the ice.

My specialist area is paper and mixed media organic materials. The bulk of my experience has been in museums, archives and collections maintenance, including previous contracts at the Museum of London, St Paul’s Cathedral and London Metropolitan Archives. I initially came to conservation from an art and history background and studied for my degree at Camberwell College in London.

For some years now I have been fascinated by the written accounts of the early Polar explorers, ever since reading Cherry-Garrard’s ‘The Worst Journey in the World’. Now that I am settled into Scott Base, I can still hardly believe that I am here and my good luck at being part of the program.

It will be absolutely incredible to work on the objects of the expedition bases themselves, as well as experiencing the challenges of such a place at first hand. I am expecting the season to be a fun one, but also a powerful experience where I will be able to entirely immerse myself in a new environment, way of life, project and group of people.

Nicola from the UK 

(working in New Zealand until February 2010 then in Antarctica until August 2010)

Nicola - conservator for the Antarctic Heritage Trust

I’ve been down to the ice before as part of the 2006 winter team and am delighted to have returned to the Antarctic Heritage Trust project. I’ve just spent 6 months working on the fascinating AHT Reserve Collections held at Canterbury Museum in Christchurch and have now arrived at Scott Base for another winter season in Antarctica.

I’ve had ‘itchy feet’ since leaving the ice in 2006 and have travelled between countries. I first returned to my job at the Museum of London where I had been a conservator for 7 years, then moved to New Zealand as Metals Conservator at Auckland War Memorial Museum, and finally to the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia where I was conserving modern sculptures and historic metalwork.

I’ve always been fascinated by the frozen landscapes of the polar regions and the stories of the people who explored, worked and survived there. I thought one trip would be enough, but Antarctica gets under your skin and I’ve been lured back by the excitement and challenges of the winter, the opportunity to conserve the artefacts in their original environment and the skidoos!

Antarctic conservation summer team 2009 - 10

Fran from the UK
Fran - Conservator for the Antarctic Heritage Trust

Back in the ‘normal’ world I am employed by the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, UK. I have mostly worked on the conservation of industrial heritage, but the collections I look after on a daily basis are quite diverse so I can turn my hand to pretty much anything! 

My main specialism is the conservation of metals and when I’m in the UK I sit on the Institute of Conservation’s Metals Group committee.

I feel very privileged to have been selected for this year’s summer project and am very much looking forward to adapting to life at Scott Base and to the challenges of camping out on the ice. It seems that previous summer teams had an amazing time and I can’t wait to experience it all at first hand.

Lucy from the UK
Lucy - conservator for the Antarctic Heritage Trust

I will be going down for the summer season, and spending time at Captain Scott’s 1911 base at Cape Evans. I can’t wait to walk over the pristine environment, unchanged since the heroic era.

My first degree is in archaeology so I am quite used to shovelling dirt all day long, lack of running water and roughing it in a tent. I first trained at University College London as an object conservator. During an internship in the organic section at the British Museum I developed a fascination for all kinds of organics from Egyptian mummies to carved ivory ornaments, woven grass hats and leather riding boots.

Since then I have worked as an archaeological conservator for English Heritage, at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, as Ancient Egyptian Artefact Conservator and as site conservator in the Egyptian desert and the Sudan.

I have now settled in Central Norway at the Vitenskapsmuseet in Trondheim where I spend my days studying and conserving beautiful jewellery and weapons from the Viking Age. Living in Norway has given me a real love of skiing, mountains and polar landscapes. It feels somehow appropriate that I should be going to wonderful Antarctica where British and Norwegian history is so entwined.

Antarctic conservation winter-over team 2009

Antonia from the UK
Antonia from the UK

My training has mainly revolved around the conservation of archaeological material, in particular metals, following on from my MA in conservation from Durham University. Recently I have been working for a private archaeological company in Edinburgh after a brief spell at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. I’ve been keen to work on this project for a long time so I am particularly pleased to be part of the team.

I am thrilled to have the opportunity to head up a new area of the project, working on the Reserve Collection before wintering over in Antarctica next year. It will be amazing to work with objects of such historical interest and importance and I feel very fortunate to be one of the select few to share this privilege.

Mindy from Canada
Mindy from Canada

 

My interest in history was tweaked at an early age – almost as soon as I could read, I was hooked! That interest naturally evolved to include a love of archaeology and conservation. Many books later, I received an Honours degree in Anthropology (Archaeology) and completed the Collections Conservation and Management course at Sir Sandford Fleming College.

I’ve had several opportunities to apply all of that reading: an archaeological conservation internship at Colonial Williamsburg, several seasons at Fort William Historical Park, volunteer terms at the Canadian Canoe Museum and the Methodist Church of New Zealand archives, and a year-and-a-half as part of Canterbury Museum’s 'Blue Whale Conservation Team'.

I’m tickled pink to be back in Christchurch, and working with the Reserve Collection, all before heading down to winter-over “on the Ice”. It is truly an honour to be part of the AHT team, and I look forward to the year ahead.

Becky from the UK
Becky Cameron

A background in art history and working for a museum led me to the field of paper conservation. I feel fortunate to have found such an interesting job that combines my interests in history and science with hands-on art skills. An MA in Conservation of Art at Northumbria University led to work in a variety of institutions including the National Museums of Scotland, the State Library of New South Wales and most recently in New Zealand for Auckland Art Gallery.

I am very excited to be joining such a unique conservation project and experiencing life at Scott Base. I've been reading up on the explorers of the heroic age and look forward to learning more, but am glad to be conserving the tins of pemmican and other polar delicacies rather than having to live off them!

Emily from Taiwan and Canada
Emily Lin

I have pursued opportunities in the field of conservation in diverse environments and in varied locations. I began my career at the National Museum of Natural Science in Taiwan and since then my desire to expand my experience in the field has led me across Canada – from Ontario to the Yukon.

I obtained my degree in art conservation a few months ago. Before going back to school for further conservation training in 2006, I worked at the Canadian Museum of Civilization as a contract conservator where I worked mostly on North American ethnographic objects and some historic and archaeological objects. I look forward to participating in this unique project and sharing this once-in-a-life-time opportunity with the team.

Antarctic conservation summer team 2008-09

Jana from Canada
Jana from Canada

Initially trained as an art historian, my interest in conservation was first piqued while working at archaeological sites throughout the Middle East. Since earning my qualifications as an objects conservator, I have been fortunate enough to work with a range of material and artefact types in collections across Canada. Most recently, I have had the opportunity to keep busy as both a conservator and exhibit arts technician at the Royal BC Museum and Archives in Victoria, BC, Canada, working in their textile, paper and objects labs.

I am extremely excited to be involved with this unique project, and I look forward to continuing the excellent work of Therese, Lizzie, Carla and Susanne where we’ll be sending our blogs from both Scott Base and from out in the field.

Anna from Australia
Anna from Australia

I studied objects and metals conservation at the University of Canberra, then worked in Fremantle assisting with the setup of the New Maritime Museum. I then worked in Sri Lanka on the artefacts retrieved from the Avondstar shipwreck before working as an objects conservator at ICS in Sydney.

I feel so privileged to be part of this historic project, and I can’t wait to get down there to plunge myself into conserving the fascinating artefacts and camping out on the ice while helping to conserve the historic bases and their contents. It will be the experience of a lifetime!

Antarctic conservation winter-over team 2008


Therese Charbonneau from Brantford, Ontario, Canada
Therese Charbonneau


I’m in the Antarctic ‘on loan’ from the Hamilton Civic Museums where I oversee preservation services. I’m the Senior Conservator for the city’s seven museums and the public art and monument collection.

I have worked in the conservation field for more than 30 years, starting with the Canadian Conservation Institute’s mobile lab program. Over the years I have worked with numerous wonderful museum collections and on some very special projects.

Visiting the Antarctic and Scott Base would be an amazing experience on its own, but actually living here and contributing to the conservation of artefacts from the Shackleton and Scott huts, well, it just doesn’t get any better.

Carla Pike from Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada
Carla Pike



I began my career in conservation at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN) in St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada, my hometown. I worked conserving organic and inorganic archaeological materials at the Colony of Avalon, Ferryland, an early 17th century British colonial site on the southern shore of Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula.

In 2003/04 I gained further conservation training from Sir Sandford Fleming College in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. I then interned and worked for four years at the Peterborough Centennial Museum and Archives focusing on the textile and photographic collections.

I am interested in the conservation of artefacts from extreme environments, and feel beyond privileged to be working on the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project. I am looking forward to the Antarctic artefact projects, as well as beautiful night skies!


Lizzie Meek from Wellington, New Zealand
Lizzie Meek


I've moved from art student to trade bookbinder to book conservator. I've worked in New Zealand and in the UK for John Rylands Library, Manchester, and the British Library, London. For the last three years I've been the Senior Book Conservator at the National Library of New Zealand/Te Puna Matauranga O Aotearoa.

It's great to be down here with the AHT team and the Scott Base crew. I'm looking forward to conserving the objects brought back to base by the summer team, the challenge of long hours of darkness occasionally illuminated by auroras, and learning to drive a skidoo.

Susanne Grieve from Virginia, USA
Susanne Grieve


After receiving a BA in anthropology from the University of West Florida, I completed an internship with the CSS Hunley project in South Carolina. I then received a master's degree in conservation from the University College London and have been working at The Mariners' Museum in Virginia for 3 years on the USS Monitor project.

I enjoy working with freeze dried material and on metals and organics that are saturated with salts. I'm very excited to join the conservation efforts in Antarctica and I look forward to your comments.
Antarctic conservation summer team 2007

Antarctic Conservation summer team 2007-08


John Greenwood from the University of Lincoln in the UK
John Greenwood


I'm a conservation lecturer and I have been working as a conservator for over 30 years. I’m delighted to have the chance to put my experience to the test in what must be the most difficult conservation challenge in the world.

 

Megan Absolon from tropical Queensland
Megan Absolon


I've been working independently as an objects conservator, specialising in metal. In the last six years I have worked on metal objects ranging from railway workshop equipment to maritime archaeological pieces at various museums.


Antarctic conservation winter-over team 2007


Phillipa Durkin from Wellington, New Zealand
Phillipa Durkin

After training in London I returned to New Zealand to work as a conservator, working on paper with the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa for the last seven years. Working at Scott Base on the objects in Shackleton's Hut is not only a fantastic professional opportunity but also an artistic one. I have no expectations and no idea of what wintering over will be like, enduring the coldest continent on Earth and being a part of history. Standing in the same places as the great explorers did - hands on hips of course.


Emily Fryer from Christchurch, New Zealand and London, UK
Emily Fryer


I have been an avid reader of this blog for the past year trying to pick up what it is really like in Antarctica and how it feels to be treating objects from Shackleton's Hut... and now I’m here doing just that!

I still can't really believe it, as it is such a change from London and my previous job as a sculpture conservator at Tate Gallery. Since completing my Masters in Conservation I have worked with a wide range of objects, from Turtle shell funerary masks from the Torres Straits to Carl Andre's artwork comprising of a pile of bricks, although I have mainly specialised in metals conservation. More recently, in August last year I moved permanently to Christchurch and have been assisting Canterbury Museum and the Antarctic Heritage Trust with a joint project on their reserve collection, which has given me a fantastic opportunity to become familiar with the objects prior to landing on the ice!

I feel really lucky to be able to take part in such an important conservation project in an absolutely amazing place and hope you find this blog as interesting and informative as I did.


Fiona Cahill from Leeds, UK
Fiona Cahill

I am a conservator at The Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds in the UK. I came to conservation after having an early mid-life crisis at 26 and I haven't looked back since. Having the opportunity to visit Antarctica and work on such on important project is very special. Not only am I looking forward to conserving all these great objects but also to experiencing the Antarctic winter.


Chris Calnan, from the UK and Canada
Chris Calnan


I trained as an objects conservator in Canada in 1976 and since 1993 I’ve been working for the National Trust in the UK, first in an external advisory capacity and latterly as conservator responsible for the East of England Region. Like many conservators I have progressed from practical bench work to advisory and management work, so when the opportunity came to get back to practical work on the conservation of the contents of the huts I knew I had to seize the chance to be part of this great project.

I have been fortunate in having the support of the trust who have made this possible through a semi-sabbatical. I also (just) have the support of my wife Elaine and three children, Ella, Antonia and Ben, who selflessly have allowed me to slip away to Antarctica and indulge in this extended break from home.
Antarctic conservation summer team 2006


Robert Clendon from Wellington, New Zealand
Robert Clendon


I have been involved in conservation for nearly 10 years, specialising in objects and metals. In this time I've worked for a number of museums in New Zealand and Australia. I'm now self-employed working with a diverse group of clients on projects throughout New Zealand.

This is my fourth trip to Antarctica but my first to Scott Base. The previous three seasons were spent working at the historic huts.


Amy Ng from Wellington, New Zealand
Amy Ng


Like Ainslie, I was inspired to become a conservator by visiting the many temples in Asia, and in particular Borobudur in Indonesia and the amazing Ajanta and Ellora caves in India. I specialise in objects and metal conservation, and have worked as a freelance conservator for cultural heritage institutions in New Zealand including the Auckland Museum, Canterbury Museum and the Christchurch City Art Gallery.

I'm currently employed at the National Library of New Zealand, working on digital preservation projects, quite different to the 'traditional' conservation disciplines. I'm really looking forward to undertaking hands-on treatments again and conserving the historic artefacts left behind by the explorers of the heroic age. This is my first trip to Antarctica.


Natalie Cadenhead from Christchurch, New Zealand
Natalie Cadenhead


Back home in Christchurch I am the Curator of Antarctic and Canterbury Social History at the Canterbury Museum, but down here on the ice I'm working as the Collections Manager. My role will involve ensuring that we know which artefacts are being returned to the hut after conservation treatment and which we are removing for transport back to the lab at Scott Base to be conserved during the coming winter. This information will then be put into the Antarctic Heritage Trust Vernon database , which is managed by Canterbury Museum. I am also working with the team to develop a location plan for the huts, both interior and exterior, so that we can keep track of all objects, whether conserved or not.

I've had the privilege of working in Antarctica eight times since 1998 .


Al Fastier from Glenorchy, New Zealand
Al Fastier


I'm the Programme Manager for the Antarctic Heritage Trust, and my role is to manage the logistics associated with the conservation of the historic huts within the Ross Sea Region. This summer season I'll be leading both the artefact conservation and the carpentry teams in Antarctica.

Last year I was seconded by the Department of Conservation to lead the conservation team working at Shackleton's Hut, so this is my second season working for the Trust.

I've previously worked on logistics for Antarctica New Zealand, been a field assistant and camp manager for both New Zealand and American Universities and also a government representative on tourist ships within the Ross Sea Region.

This is my 11th season working in Antarctica and it's always fantastic to return.


Julian Bickersteth from Sydney, Australia
Julian Bickersteth


I run International Conservation Services (ICS) in Sydney. ICS has been commissioned by the Antarctic Heritage Trust to deliver the artefact conservation programme for the historic huts.

I trained in the UK as a furniture conservator and moved to Australia in 1984, establishing ICS three years later. Since 1997, various members of staff have been involved with the conservation programme and visited the huts in Antarctica. This is my second visit.


Antarctic conservation winter-over team 2006


Sarah Clayton from Canberra, Australia
Sarah Clayton


I've been interested in conservation since I was about 14. It's the perfect way to combine my interest in science and my creative side. I specialise in textiles, and I'm currently working for the Australian War Memorial as a textiles and soft organic objects conservator.


Nicola Dunn from London, UK
Nicola Dunn


I specialise in metals, and I'm currently working as an applied arts conservator at the Museum of London.

I originally trained as a jeweller and silversmith, then, while working, began studying archaeology. I then became interested in conservation while taking part in archaeological excavations.

Ainslie Greiner from Wellington, New Zealand
Ainslie Greiner


I'm currently working as an objects conservator with the Australian War Memorial , like Sarah, but I specialise in objects and metals conservation. I was inspired to become a conservator after witnessing the conservation of temples in Cambodia. I've worked on a range of projects, from restoring wall panels at the Old Parliament House of Australia to working on Wolseley Shearing plant for the National Museum of Australia.

Cartoon image of a stegasaurus disappearing through closing door

The first collected specimen of Theobroma cacao, the plant from which chocolate is made, is kept in the Museum.