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Antarctic conservation

2 Posts tagged with the conservation_lab tag

Graphic art in the lab

Posted by Conservators Apr 11, 2013

Author: Marie

Date: 08/04/13

Temperature: -16

Wind speed: 9 knots

Temp with wind chill: -24

Sunrise: 8:58am

Sunset: 4:49pm



Some artefacts just fascinate you. They take you back somewhere, sometime, straight away. They're appealing. The stationery we had last fortnight had this effect on me. The tray for the colours, the brush and the nib pen, just fill the area with some kind of poetic and artistic atmosphere. And I couldn't refrain from setting up this completely inaccurate reconstruction, for the picture and for the pleasure.

Painter atelier.jpg

The imaginary painter atelier in the conservation lab



Click the following link to see the real painter atelier in the hut. Historic image of Dr Wilson working on a sketch May 19th 1911 Credit H. Ponting. SPRI ref : P2005/5/0402


I was also really curious about the nib pen. Could it be Scott’s one? Was it related to one of the diaries? Or maybe to some map, drawing, letters, furniture list or scientific notes? Hence, I started looking again on the historic images, and Lizzie sent me some close ups. So, I can tell now that it's probably not Scott's, neither Cherry's, nor Griff. But, it could be Gran's nib pen, even if I can't tell for sure. The exposure time was long enough for Gran to take a posture in the middle of an already written page and it seems that the handle has been slightly moving. Click the following link to see a picture of Gran holding a nib pen: Credit H. Ponting. SPRI ref: P2005/5/0399.


That's probably the most interesting part of the job, going from the excitement of mystery to the pleasure of recognition. So, if someone can just tell me what's written on the page…


Author: Stefanie

Date: 6 March 2013

Temperature: -24C

Wind Speed: 30 / 12 knots

Temp with wind chill: -35C

Sunrise: 04:54

Sunset: 21:10



In preparation for the winter's extreme cold and darkness, we have moved the conservation laboratory from the summer container into the science preparation areas in the Hillary Field Center (HFC) which is inside Scott Base. This space, which is usually occupied by scientists carrying our research during the summer, is an ideal space for any conservation laboratory. It is very spacious and well equipped with good lighting, benches, chemical storage cupboards, sink and computer. This, in addition to our documentation and conservation equipment, materials and chemicals makes up our new work space. 

Marie and Stefan in winter lab.jpg

Marie and Stefan in the recenetly installed winter lab


As the summer-winter lab transformation occurs every year at winter and back again at summer, all of the conservation lab equipment, materials and chemicals are stored in a very orderly fashion in labeled white crates. Therefore our move from the Antarctic Heritage Trust container to the science preparation area in the HFC was very swift.

working in the winter lab.jpg

Stefan, Sue, Jaime and Marie working in the winter lab


As Sue and Marie packed and moved white crates from the summer container into the HFC, Stefan and I cleaned and prepared our new winter lab. Benches were layered with absorbent tissue and polyethylene sheets, the microscope was mounted, crates were allocated new homes under the benches, a photographic and documentation area was set up and chemicals stored in their designated chemical cupboards. And then in came the fume cabinet, which was kindly installed by the engineers. We are now set for the winter.