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February 2008: Curator’s Blog

Curator’s Blog – 15/2/2008

Here we are, only 5 weeks left in South Georgia, the time is flying. Most of our time over the last few weeks has been taken up by visiting cruise ships. We had a fabulous afternoon with the Hanseatic who held a small private function in the Museum after the visitors had returned to the ship. I gave a short presentation on the history of the Museum and then we had a group photo outside in the forecourt. A great time was had by all, as well as a few glasses of champagne!

Photo: The Hanseatic Hapag-Lloyd group, me second from right
The Hanseatic Hapag-Lloyd group, me second from right

Last week saw the arrival of Prinsendam, the largest cruise ship to visit South Georgia with over 700 people. Miriam and John had a very successful day when they took a range of gifts from the Museum shop to sell on the ship while Sarah, Steve and myself held the fort in the Museum.

The contractors have recently finished the Maritime Gallery so I will be arranging to install a large part of the display in the next few weeks. The James Caird III is on its way to South Georgia and will be stopping off in Stanley where it will become part of an exhibition on Shackleton before arriving here early in October. This is incredibly exciting and I’m very pleased that I will see its arrival next season.

The new Dias display has found a temporary home in the Bonner room while work was finalised in the Carr Maritime Gallery. Just before the model of the Viola (now Dias) went on display we had a visit from a couple from Hull who were very interested in the artefacts so I took them behind the scenes to see the model for themselves.

Photo: Jill Rutter with ship model of Viola (now Dias)
Jill Rutter with ship model of Viola (now Dias)

Following the arrival of Steve Massam, the Taxidermist, the ‘Made in South Georgia’ production line got started last week. Much fun was had making weaners and the range has now expanded to include fur seal pups, whale catcher and penguin magnets. The postmistress, Ainslie, has also been lending a hand to make South Georgia creations.

I had my second article published in the local paper back home in Orkney and have had many related enquiries. I will also be doing an interview for BBC radio Orkney next week to talk about South Georgia Heritage Trust and life on a remote island. The Museum also featured in the Shetland Times in an article about the Viola (now Dias), which is moored at Grytviken.

Photo Steve and Ainslie painting Elephant seal pup models
Steve and Ainslie painting Elephant seal pup models


The number of people on base almost halved on Wednesday with the departure of the James Clark Ross, it will be ferrying home the Chief Boatman who has been here for 2 and a half years and also two field teams who have been here for the summer. A group of three Norwegian geologists who have been working here for a month also headed home. The Scandinavians treated us to a traditional Norwegian night a few weeks back where we dried cod and fiske boller (fish balls). We were then treated to a Norwegian film which was made in the 1930s.

It is a beautiful day here in Grytviken and I believe there is a call for volunteers to work on the cemetery fence, I better get my overalls on!

Elsa Davidson