Portsmouth’s Diana joins Antarctic mission to save sites of famed explorers

Diana McCormack, a senior conservator on HMS Victory is to join an Antarctic adventure following the footsteps of famed explorer Captain Scott Picture: Chris Stephens
Diana McCormack, a senior conservator on HMS Victory is to join an Antarctic adventure following the footsteps of famed explorer Captain Scott Picture: Chris Stephens
The HMS Queen Elizabeth tree decoration

Chance to win gifts in navy advent calendar

0
Have your say

A HISTORY-loving conservation expert has scooped the role of a lifetime helping to preserve the bases of some of the world’s greatest explorers.

Diana McCormack beat hundreds of other conservators to join a mission to the Antarctic where she will battle to preserve expedition bases of famed explorers Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Sir Edmund Hillary.

The 36-year-old, who is the senior conservator working on HMS Victory in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, will spend six weeks on Ross Island with the New Zealand-based Antarctic Heritage Trust (NZAHT) as the group’s first-ever conservation ambassador.

It’s a dream come true for Diana, who’s part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

She 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.’

The project attracted hundreds of applications from around the world and was open to those who had graduated in conservation within five years.

As part of her role, 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.

In preparation, she has been given advice on how to deal with ‘angry penguins’ and cope with the freezing minus 40C temperatures.

She added: ‘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.’

Diana will post regular updates on nmrn.org.uk.

For details on the trust, see nzaht.org.