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Conserving our Antarctic heritage

Inside Shackleton

Inside Shackleton's Hut today. © Antarctic Heritage Trust.

The Antarctic Heritage Trust is conserving four Antarctic explorers' huts, including those used by Scott and Shackleton on their expeditions to Antarctica. Conservators from the Trust are at work throughout the year on the frozen continent, living in one of the most hostile environments on Earth.

Find out what it's like to live in Antarctica and preserve the artefacts left behind by the great explorers in the conservators' blog. You can also view stunning images of Antarctic wildlife, including seals and penguins, and share your thoughts on this important heritage project.

Find out more about the Antarctic Heritage Trust

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Author: Stefanie White

Date: 25t June 2014

Temperature: -22.4 degrees celcius

Wind Speed: 7.7 kts 40 NE

Temp with wind chill: -31.7 degrees celcius

Sunrise: N/A

Sunset: N/A


Passing through the conservation laboratory at Scott Base is a memorable and extraordinary experience. There is continuously a spectacular display of different objects in various stages of conservation treatment.

Image 1.JPG

Working Lab

One bench displays the mid-treatment of metal food liners and boxes, another bench reveals 32 ration bags filled with cocoa powder, flour, cereals and curry powder and another bench modestly exhibits penguin skeletons.

Image 2.JPG

Sledging ration bags containing cocoa powder, cereals, flour and spices

Every day each one of us is presented with challenges and discussion in material science and the conservation of such objects. Meg is currently conserving a wooden tent frame, 2 penguin skeletons and a box of cement for a seismograph.

Image 3.JPG

Meg conserving two Penguin skeletons

Sue is carrying out the conservation treatment of an iron alloy supply box filled with sugar cubes that are largely dissolved and recrystallized into a solid mass, and I am working on the 32 ration bags, a wooden stool and lead bucket with layers of paint on its surface.

Looking around the lab today it reminds me of how fortunate object conservators are to work on such a large and varied selection of materials.

Image 4.JPG

Stefanie conserving Lead bucket and Sue conserving sugar in metal liner.


More about the explorers' huts

In the early years of the last century, Antarctica was the last great goal for explorers, who raced each other to be the first to reach the South Pole. Their legacy remains to this day in the form of the pre-fabricated huts used as bases for their journeys, and the possessions they left behind in them.

Antarctica's harsh environment has preserved these huts so far, but they are now in urgent need of care. The conservators from the Antarctic Heritage Trust are currently working on the expedition base built by Captain Robert Falcon Scott for his 1911 expedition to the South Pole.

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Looking for blog posts from before August 2010?

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About the conservators

Antarctic Heritage Trust logo. Copyright: Antarctic Heritage TrustThe Antarctic conservation blog is being written by Trust conservators Sue, Stefanie, Aline and Meg who are currently working and living in Antarctica.

Previous entries were written by the summer and winter conservation teams from 2006 onwards, who have now left Scott Base.