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International team to conserve Antarctic artefacts


International team to conserve iconic Antarctic artefacts in New Zealand

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Captain Scott’s base, Cape Evans. Credit: New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust

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Conservators Antonia Craster and Melinda Bell examine artefacts from Scott and Shackleton’s expeditions


11 September 2008

International team to conserve iconic Antarctic artefacts in New Zealand

Professional conservators from Canada and Britain started work this week in a laboratory at Canterbury Museum to catalogue and conserve part of the iconic collection of artefacts from Scott and Shackleton’s expeditions.

A partnership between the Antarctic Heritage Trust and Canterbury Museum, the programme has been made possible with funding from The Canterbury Community Trust.

Conservators Melinda Bell, of Calgary, and Antonia Craster of Edinburgh have moved to New Zealand to spend the next six months working on the reserve collection at Canterbury Museum and then deploy to Antarctica to winter-over with another two conservators to work on the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project.

“It’s fitting that this work can be undertaken at Canterbury Museum given its world class Antarctic collection was started by Scott and Shackleton when they used Christchurch as a point of departure a century ago” said Canterbury Community Trust chair Barry Dent.

The two year project at Canterbury Museum will see the conservation of reindeer sleeping bags, tents and numerous iconic objects from the early expeditions. “This forms part of the wider project we have embarked on to safeguard this legacy for current and future generations” said Antarctic Heritage Trust Director, Nigel Watson.

Mr Watson said the project has been described by those in the profession as “the most exciting heritage project in the world”.

The work can be followed online at


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