The Trust’s project is the largest heritage project ever undertaken in the polar regions

Credit: Alasdair Turner

The Trust’s Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project is a multi-year, multi-site heritage conservation programme in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. 

Since 2006 we have engaged over 60 international heritage and conservation specialists in Antarctica working in our custom-built facilities in the most challenging heritage conservation environment on earth.

By January 2017 we have completed a major phase of conservation work on Ross Island which included the conservation of four historic bases and more than 18,000 artefacts:

  • Sir Ernest Shackleton’s 1908 base and its collection of more than 6,000 artefacts
  • Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s last expedition base at Cape Evans and its 11,500 artefacts
  • Scott’s first expedition base at Hut Point and 500 artefacts
  • Hillary's Hut at Scott Base and its 600 artefacts

All four sites have a comprehensive monitoring and maintenance programme of work in place for at least 25 years.

Saving Scott's and Shackleton's Huts

Teams of professional conservators, with specialisms in paper, timber, textile and metal conservation, have either over-wintered at Scott Base or spent summers in the field working from our conservation laboratory. Collectively, they have conserved a staggering 18,600 individual artefacts including clothing, equipment and personal items.

Conservation work now centres on Carsten Borchgrevink’s 1899 base at Cape Adare.

Project background

In 2002, HRH Princess Anne launched the Trust’s Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project (RSHRP) in Antarctica, a long-term international project to secure the bases and conserve the thousands of artefacts associated with the sites.

At around the same time the international community began to recognise the importance of these sites. The Getty Foundation made significant funding available for the project and the World Monuments Fund listed all four sites on their 2008 list of the 100 Most Endangered Sites on Earth.  They are also protected under the Antarctic Treaty System.

Hillary's Hut

In 2012 the Trust took on management responsibility for Hillary’s Hut, the original Trans-Antarctic Expedition building that remains at New Zealand's scientific research facility, Scott Base. In January 2017 the Trust finished the conservation of Hillary's Hut in time for the 60th anniversary celebrations of Scott Base.

Taken in April 2017 Hillary's Hut is painted in its original colours again.

Current Conservation

Borchgrevink's Hut at Cape Adare

Find out more about our conservation work with this hut from the British Antarctic Expedition of 1898-1900. The site is notable not only for its role in the discovery of Antarctica but also as the only example left of humanity’s first building on any continent. 

You can help support us

We rely on valuable support from trusts, foundations and individual supporters. 

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