The history of Grytviken came alive recently when Bridget Steed projected a range of historic images around the station.
SGHT’s new PR & Marketing Manager, Ruth Fraser, gives us an update on current fundraising initiatives.
Museum Assistant and resident artist, Bridget Steed, recently organised an art exhibition in Grytviken whaling station. You can find out more about the exhibition and her time on the island in her recent blog.
HISTORIC IMAGES AROUND THE STATION
On Sunday 14th March the abandoned whaling station was filled with ghosts of its often forgotten past, whale carcasses dominating the landscape again. As the day ended and darkness fell, Grytviken was illuminated and the flensing plan came alive once more. Bringing a layer of this place’s past into the present, by projecting old slides with scenes from the whaling days into the derelict whaling station, the machinery and architecture were illuminated and this ambiguous site was brought alive by it’s histories.
“Tackling” a new project…
I’ve recently been taken on as PR & Marketing Manager for SGHT. In my old life I ran a PR company and so offered to get involved here in South Georgia. One of my first jobs in this new role has been to produce a display at the museum – I’ve never done this before and so I asked Tony to help me. We’ve been working together on a new display to highlight our fundraising efforts for the Habitat Restoration programme and came up with the idea of producing a “Blue Peter style” display that shows how much money we have raised and how much we have yet to raise for the next four phases of the restoration programme. It’s been a lot of fun working together and also working on something completely new.
Tony managed to find a block and tackle and an old oar from one of the workshops at the back of the museum, I then checked with Elsa our curator that they were ok to use. She came back to say that it was fine, but that could I check with Tim & Pauline Carr (previous curators at the museum) who were due in on a cruise ship soon to make sure the oar didn’t belong to their old boat “Curlew”. So I was lucky enough to visit them on their ship and spend a very pleasant half hour with them chatting away and drinking cups of tea! The conclusion was that the items were perfect for the display and are now proudly part of our exhibit.
I spent some time hand painting all the financial targets onto the backing for the oar and tony assembled the block & tackle and oar along with the display boards to make sure that everything fitted together properly (my husband Keiron warned him that I’m not allowed near power tools and sharp objects!) he also created a lovely wooden collection box to hold all the donations we hope to get! We’re quite proud of the final result – its amazing what you can produce with teamwork!
I now have a long list of other projects that I’m working on to increase awareness of our fundraising activities, so there will be lots more to come. It’s hard to believe I’m now half way through my first season on South Georgia, even harder to believe that I managed to complete the half marathon a few weeks ago and help raise over £1000 for the Restoration programme. As I look outside the office Ainslie and I share at the top of the museum, I’m always stunned by the beautiful bay in front of us. Bridget said the other day we have the best view on the island! It’s great to be working for such a worthy cause and the surroundings really promote the opportunity to be creative and to think of great fundraising ideas and ways of heightening the profile of SGHT.
Bridget Steed BLOG
Preparing to write this blog entry I looked at my last contribution, written fresh from arriving on the Pharos FPV, when South Georgia was snow covered, the first cruise ships due were still far north and I had no idea what to expect from the coming months. Back then I anticipated an incredible time here and it really has been.
It’s snowing here again today as it probably was when I wrote my first museum diary at the end of winter. Weather-wise it has not been South Georgia’s best summer but as a Scot I’m used to bad summers.
South Georgia and the base at King Edward Point has become a real home over the last few months. It has been such an amazing experience to spend half a year here and live in such an incredible place. When the cruise ship passengers quiz me over their souvenir purchases, on life on a remote island, I can’t help but feel incredibly lucky and a little guilty telling them I have 6 months to experience this amazing place when they only have a few hours.
The season has been very busy at the Museum. The team has changed a little from month to month and everyone has been great. Us ‘Museumies’ as we have been nicknamed, have a pretty great time over in Grytviken, working hard on lots of projects at the museum and having a good laugh over our spicy noodle lunches and occasional evening g and t’s!
After working a lot with Steve Massam during his time here I have learnt a lot about casting and have had the chance to design new items for the Made in South Georgia souvenir range. I have worked to produce a range of Sperm Whale teeth cast in resin. There is a plain undecorated tooth, a cast tooth with a map of South Georgia and I have also made a limited number of unique scrimshawed teeth with original artwork.
Over the last few weeks (when not a Scrimshandler!) I have had some time to work as an artist in residence here, gathering research for my art practice and making some new work. I have a little studio space set up in the museum and a sketchbook full of ideas.
As part of my work I initiated a project involving everyone on the island. In my own work I have used maps specifically of South Georgia to make drawings about the island. As a continuation of this I planned to make an exhibition in South Georgia, about South Georgia, for and by the people who live here. A few weeks ago I gave everyone an identical map of the island and asked them to use it in any way they wished to create an artwork. I was really overwhelmed by everyone’s enthusiasm for the project and creativity.
On Friday the 19th Feb I brought all the work together in an exhibition titled Mapping South Georgia, displayed in part of the Whaling Station. I had picked a covered area for the exhibit, sheltered from South Georgia’s changeable weather conditions and displaying all the artwork amongst the abandoned machinery of the Meat Cookery. People could explore the semi-derelict space and find the works, nestling amongst rusting tanks and processing equipment. The space worked perfectly and was very like some of the industrial spaces used by many modern art galleries back in the real world.
We had a great opening with a few bottles of fizz and we even had some non local visitors from that days cruise ship. The works looked fantastic together. There were drawings, paintings, collages, 3d work, a tapestry piece, an origami penguin with chicks, a poetry book and even an animation about the history of South Georgia.
I couldn’t have been more pleased with the success of the event. Every piece was so different and unique, and together created a visual map of this place, with many approached and responses to the Island that really were poles apart.