Lizzie Meek is Programme Manager-Artefacts for the New Zealand Based Antarctic Heritage Trust (AHT). Since 2004, AHT has been engaged in a long-term cold conservation project to protect the expedition bases and artefacts left behind by Borchgrevink, Shackleton, Scott and Hillary in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica. Lizzie manages teams of conservators spending a winter or a summer season conserving the collection of c.17,000 artefacts. Winter teams work at New Zealand’s Scott Base, whilst in the summer Lizzie leads a team in the field working at the historic sites, living in tents and working in the uncontrolled Antarctic environment. The QEST scholarship was pivotal in Lizzie’s development as a Conservator, allowing the development of broader collections skills and encouraging a perspective on Conservation which looks beyond a purely object by object approach.
After completing the Post-graduate Diploma, Lizzie moved to a post as Senior Book Conservator at the National Library of New Zealand, conserving rare printed books and early newspaper and periodical collections. After a number of years in this position, colleagues alerted her to an unusual job in Antarctica, conserving paper and books from the Scott 1910-13 Terra Nova expedition. Lizzie took up a six month contract and spent a winter at Scott Base. When an opportunity arose to manage the overall Artefact Conservation programme, it was too good to pass up.
Since then Lizzie has spent six summers on the ice, and will continue to manage the artefact conservation as the project progresses toward completion. High profile conservation projects have included Shackleton's forgotten whisky, and the Ross Sea Party negatives. Lizzie is also involved with the Lyttelton Museum Historical Society, and as Vice-President, coordinates a number of activities including collection cataloguing and packaging, as the Museum recovers from the loss of its building during the 2010-11 Christchurch earthquake sequence.