Thursday, February 08, 2007


We have settled into the rooms, or bunks that have been allocated but it is only temporary as we will be given our own room once the base empties of all who are not wintering over on the 24th. We have had an eventful few days visiting all the containers that hold our artifacts and materials and also placing all the equipment back into the lab since it was moved over summer. The containers smell of rotten food but it's not as bad a macerated whale bones, so I'll cope. I was really excited to view items like a wooden boat transom, shovels and cast iron items from the oven. There are also textiles in the form of ration bags, some still tied up with food. The tin's of food will make up the majority of my work and at this stage are still exciting, Split Peas, Angus Marrow Fat, Stewed Lamb, Cod Roe and pure preserved Brussels Sprouts. The labels affected by rust and the environment give me goose bumps and I'm looking forward to treating them, I feel my "conservation mojo" has returned. These tins came from Nesta boxes made of ply that Shackleton stacked around the outer walls to aid insulation and to store them as there was over three years worth of food. They were carefully removed from the snow and scoria and transported to Scott Base for conservation by the summer team.

8.00am - heading off to work in our warm gears.

Ration bags.

Conservation ethics are a big part of why I love this profession. We do not want to "restore" to pristine and pretty the objects for the hut as they then would not be in keeping or historically accurate for the hut and it would change their character, something you don't want to do. For a conservator, if an object after treatment looks similar to it's counterparts back in the hut, then we have been successful, as it is stable and happy but is still in context.

Preserve, respect and accept the changes which time and re-use have brought through history.

We want the objects to look like they belong to Shackleton and not resemble a museum facsimile.

I feel I have been here a month and it has only been two and a half days, which is really amazing. My eye's are still adjusting to the very dry environment and it is best described as having jet-lag, but I feel great outside as the humidity is higher.

Oh My God...there's Black Doris plumbs for breakfast, my favourite, but for how long I wonder. There is also a sauna which you can use at your leisure, you just need to plan ahead and turn it on, fabulous as I LOVE saunas. And I can't possibly make it to the gym as I'm far to busy eating!! - Oh dear!!

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