December 2022 Museum Christmas Blog by Aoife McKenna, Curatorial Assistant
December already! It certainly crept up on us down in South Georgia. With over a thousand visitors to the museum, a bustling social events calendar, and the peak of Fur Seal mating season, we had entered the most wonderful time of the year.
The museum team have successfully moved to Drukken Villa at Grytviken, a change that coincided with our sad goodbyes to Curator Jayne, who left South Georgia at the start of December. The population of the island shrunk dramatically as the previous season’s British Antarctic Survey (BAS) team also left, so it felt a little quiet for the first part of the month!
This quietness was not to last, however, as soon the cruise ships began piling in. Our visitors were very excited to spend their Christmas season at the bottom of the world, making every penguin sighting even more magical through their eyes. Being able to take people around the whaling station and give them a glimpse into the past is one of the best parts of my job, and the bonus gifts of hot chocolate and cookies from some of the ships only made this more enjoyable!
Many of the ships held carol services at Grytviken church, which had been decorated by the small population of South Georgia. The museum team baked treats for the decorating day, before everyone crammed into Drukken for a festive meal. It was a tight squeeze in such a small house, but we just about managed it! It was also Deirdre’s birthday, and it was lovely to all celebrate together as a community.
Balancing an avalanche of ships and social events was the biggest challenge of the month. We worked eleven straight days over the period of Christmas to New Year’s Day, with plenty of excitement in-between! Christmas Eve saw a base-wide Secret-Santa gift exchange, and Christmas Day was spent outside eating pizzas made by our amazing build team. Spending time as a community, especially for special events, is one of the most enjoyable things about living on South Georgia.
Seeing our community grow and change – even for short periods of time – is also exciting. HMS Protector visited us for four days in December and we even got a chance to play football with them! Team KEP won 2-1 and a good time was had by all, even in very snowy weather!
We rounded off the month by welcoming in the New Year, both by greeting our final ship of 2022 and gathering at Hope Point to ring in midnight. We are now halfway through our time on South Georgia as the 22/23 museum team, and time is going by so quickly! We can’t wait to see what the next three months have in store for us. From everyone on South Georgia we hope you had a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.