Posted by Julie
Date: 14 February 2011
Wind Speed: 12
Temp with wind chill: -15
In the winter, the Antarctic Heritage Trust conservation lab gets moved. Summer AHT conservators work in a lab constructed from three shipping containers located away from the main building at Scott Base, Antarctica. This allows the team to work out of the way of the scientific research activity on base in the summer.
In the winter, base activity goes to a minimum, so the AHT team can move into the main building. Not only does this make for more comfortable working conditions – conservators have stories about things freezing to the floor of the lab in the winter -- this means the outlying buildings do not need to be heated, saving on electricity usage. (100% of the electricity at Scott Base is now wind-generated: http://www.antarcticanz.govt.nz/scott-base/ross-island-wind-energy).
The forklift brings the fume extraction unit into the winter lab space. © AHT / Julie
Everything in the lab is moved, including the fume extraction unit, solvent storage cabinets, bookshelves, and all tools, equipment, and supplies. This year’s move was accomplished in virtually one day with the help of several people on base, a forklift, numerous runs back and forth in a truck, and a “quad bike” (a four-wheel cycle) fitted with a trailer. The objects/textile conservators moved into a room normally used for research event logistics, and Martin, the conservation carpenter, has set up a workshop in a “cage,” or fenced-off area normally used for supplies storage. (We promise to bring him food in the cage, and to let him out sometimes.)
We are now up and running in our winter space. We have lost our views of Mt. Erebus and lounging seals, but we have gained running water and closer proximity to both coffee and the toilets.