MEET THE TEAM
Jayne Pierce, Curator
Museum Curator Jayne Pierce grew up with a love of natural history and geology. She graduated from Leicester University with a degree in Geology before completing a master’s degree in Micropalaeontology at University College London. After a spate of travelling and working on a gold mine in Western Australia, she returned to the UK to follow a career in museums, first at the Natural History Museum then with UCL Museums & Collections. Jayne spends part of the year at South Georgia and the rest at home in Bath, UK.
Passionate about the great outdoors, Jayne developed an appetite for travelling which led to hiking the Himalayas of Nepal, the Rocky Mountains of Canada, the volcanoes of New Zealand and Bolivia and now working in South Georgia.
Jayne enjoys visiting and exploring all aspects of culture and heritage, from city art galleries and museums, architecture and formal gardens, to post-industrial landscapes and open wild spaces.
Deirdre Mitchell, SGHT Director, South Georgia
Deirdre Mitchell is responsible for overseeing SGHT operations on South Georgia, including the operation and management of the Museum. Deirdre studied history and museum studies at the University of St Andrews, before embarking on a curatorial career. This led to her first role at the South Georgia Museum as a Curatorial Intern in 2014-15. This experience sparked Deirdre’s fascination with all things South Georgia and Antarctica. For the next seven years she worked as a Naturalist on board expedition ships in the region and subsequently for the British Antarctic Survey at both Rothera and King Edward Point Research Stations.
As a Scot, Deirdre is particularly fascinated by the many Scottish elements of South Georgia’s whaling history, and also enjoys being surrounded by the island’s incredible wildlife and landscape.
Aoife McKenna, Curatorial Assistant
Aoife McKenna was originally from London, but she grew up further north, in Derby, where she explored the rugged landscape of the surrounding Peak District.
Aoife enjoys all things museum and heritage based, particularly when travelling to new places. She has just completed her master’s degree in Museum and Gallery Studies at the University of St. Andrews, and has worked on museum exhibitions for the Dundee Museum of Transport and Scottish Fisheries Museum.
Aoife’s fascination with the polar regions was born from an interest in all things exploration – especially Sir Ernest Shackleton’s expeditions in Antarctica; being able to live and work in South Georgia is therefore a dream come true!
Liz Adams, Buyer
Liz Adams is the buyer for the Museum gift shop and works from England. Her main goal is to increase the profitability of the shop and to make it an attractive gift shop for visitors to the island. Liz concentrates on sourcing unique high quality gifts that are environmentally friendly and produced ethically.
Lauren Elliott, Senior Museum Assistant
Lauren Elliott grew up in the city of Portsmouth, UK, where city life is a vast contrast to the life that lies ahead on South Georgia. Lauren went to the University of Brighton, graduating with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Ethics and afterwards travelled across the UK and Ireland working in retail management.
In 2019/20 Lauren lived at Port Lockroy, Antarctica whilst working for the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust. This sparked her love for the polar regions; the history and the wildlife in these areas. Lauren valued the knowledge and life experiences her team in Antarctica taught her. Lauren is excited to work for SGHT and embrace a new remote area of the world, learn about the heritage of the island and watch the wildlife flourish throughout the season and she is eager to learn as much as she can from the SG team.
Lauren enjoys running and has completed marathons in London, Brighton, Manchester and most recently the midnight sun marathon in the 24 hour daylight in Tromso, Norway. She is looking forward to adding the South Georgia Half Marathon to the list!
Helen Balfour, Museum Assistant
Helen Balfour was brought up in the Shetland Islands, Scotland, so is travelling from 60° North to almost 60° South to work in South Georgia. She is following in both her grandfathers’ footsteps by making the journey to South Georgia, as they were both employed in the island’s whaling trade in the 1950s.
Helen has spent the last 5 years studying for both her honours and master’s degree in Anthropology at the University of Aberdeen. Her main interest for both dissertations was based on heritage and museum studies, with a focus on Shetland and the NE of Scotland. She has worked for Aberdeen Archives, Gallery and Museums and the Shetland Museum and Archives. In 2021, she volunteered as a digital volunteer with Tarves Heritage Centre, helping to digitise some of their photography collections.
Helen enjoys making things, whether with traditional Shetland material of black oat straw or producing lino prints. Following her season in South Georgia, she hopes to take part in some Tall Ship sailing races.
Steve Massam, Museum Taxidermist
Steve Massam is the Museum Taxidermist. He is based in the Falkland Islands and has occasionally spent time working at the South Georgia Museum.
Steve is also a talented sculptor and has designed an attractive range of goods that are made for sale in the SG Museum gift shop.