Conserving in the Antarctic, the collaboration with Antarctic Heritage Trust

From January to August 2014, Aline worked for Antarctic Heritage Trust (NZ) , based in their conservation lab at New Zealand’s Scott Base on Ross Island, Antarctica. Since 2005, the Antarctic Heritage Trust has had a year-round on-ice cold climate conservation project to conserve the heroic era (1895-1917) expedition bases associated with Scott and Shackleton.

Aline shared the experience with three team-mates: experienced object conservators from Australia (Sue Bassette, our manager, and Meg Absolon) and Ireland (Stefanie White). With expertise in the conservation of books and documents from archives or museums, Aline’s challenge was to adapt her knowledge and professional skills to social history objects, often composed of paper mixed with other materials. The conservation of modern objects (from the late 19th and early 20th century) left for over one hundred years in harsh Antarctic environmental conditions, required modified approaches to treatment. It was crucial to consider how to keep historical integrity intact, as well as providing ongoing protection for the objects, which had to be returned to the uncontrolled environment within the huts.
You can get more information about the project and our experience there by consulting our blog, written by the team during the seven months on the ice.