Her day job involves conserving some of the world’s most famous historic ships including HMS Victory and now senior conservator Diana McCormack’s childhood Antarctic dream will come true as she beats hundreds of applicants worldwide to volunteer on a famous project.
The New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust (NZAHT) cares for the expedition bases of the Antarctic explorers including Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Sir Edmund Hillary and has announced today, Thursday 12th October that Diana (36) will be joining the team for six weeks as its first-ever Conservation Ambassador.
She will be working on Ross Island which was the base for many of the early expeditions to Antarctica and will be assisting with the annual maintenance programme on explorers Scott’s and Shackleton’s huts and Hillary’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition hut from the 1950s.
The scheme attracted hundreds of applications from around the world and was open to those who had graduated in conservation within five years.
Diana, senior conservator in the Historic Ships team at The National Museum of the Royal Navy, based in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard said: “Every day I walk past the statue of British naval officer and possibly the world’s most famous polar explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott who is a hero of mine.
This is a dream come true for me and I am honoured to be working on one of the most difficult jobs in conservation. The extreme temperatures make for a challenging conservation environment not just for the wooden huts themselves but the everyday contents found inside, including bedding, cans, diaries, food and drink. But I’m hoping that my experience of working on wooden ships like Victory which has its own battle with salt water, wind and wear and tear and the amazing collection of artefacts we have will hold me in good stead.”
As part of her role as conservation ambassador, Diana will be updating social media followers on her stint in the Antarctic and doing outreach work with young people when she returns to the UK.
Diana continues: “I am really looking forward to working with some incredible people in a once-in-a-lifetime chance to explore the margins of the world. We’ve had lots of advice, even including how to deal with an angry penguin! I’m not sure how I will deal with the temperature, which in the summer dips to -40 degrees with the wind chill and I am hoping that the team like my cooking!”