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Six months on the ice for senior conservator

Six months on the ice for Turnbull Library senior book conservator


Wellington book
conservator Lizzie Meek
Click to enlarge

Media Release
For immediate release
30 January 2008

Six months on the ice for Turnbull Library senior book conservator

Wellington book conservator Lizzie Meek will next month travel to Antarctica to join an international team of three other conservators wintering over in Antarctica as part of the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project.

Between 2004 and 2007, the Trust focussed on saving Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition base at Cape Royds. Shackleton’s base is now structurally sound and weather-tight. The conservation of thousands of artefacts associated with the site will be completed part way through the winter of 2008. The Winter Team will then concentrate their efforts on artefacts from Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s iconic base at Cape Evans. The conserved artefacts will be returned to the historic hut the following summer.

Working in specialised lab facilities at Scott Base, the conservators will stabilise and consolidate objects such as tools, clothing, bottles and cans of food and supplies before they are returned to the hut and replaced in context.

Team members wintering over at Scott Base undergo a series of physical and psychological tests to ensure they can cope with extreme weather conditions and four months of darkness and isolation, with all flights suspended between April and Winfly, in August.

Ms Meek is the only New Zealander working on the project this winter and joins paper conservator Therese Charbonneau (Canada) and objects conservators Carla Pike (US) and Susanne Grieve (UK).

Ina Faerber, a book conservator from the National Library of Austria, has been seconded to Ms Meek’s position in the Turnbull Library’s Preservation Services section.

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To follow the work that the winter conservators are undertaking at Scott Base, refer to the conservator blog on the Natural History Museum website http://piclib.nhm.ac.uk/antarctica/

If you would like to know more about the Antarctic Heritage Trust or the current status of the historic huts managed by the Trust, refer to: www.nzaht.org


ENDS

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