Meet our new head of buildings and conservation
Pictured: Head of Buildings and Conservation, Ruth Mullett
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Ruth and I was appointed the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust’s head of buildings and conservation in November 2021. Broadly speaking, my job is to ensure the buildings and artefacts in our care are looked after to the best possible standards. The main part of my job is planning the maintenance schedule for our six sites, but it also involves such things as trialling new products and collaborating with external experts. It is a privilege to be part of the talented team helping to tell our sites’ extraordinary stories of human endeavour and scientific exploration.
What is your background?
I came to UKAHT from a heritage consultancy in Oxford, where I was lucky enough to work on all kinds of sites, from country houses to WWII RAF bases. Before entering the heritage sector, I taught medieval manuscript studies for eight years. There are more synergies than you might imagine – both involve uncovering the stories behind historic artefacts, whether that’s an old book or an old building!
Are you travelling south this year?
In just a few weeks I am hoping to travel to Antarctica with our Lead Carpenter, Geoff Cooper. With the support of HMS Protector, we are hoping to get to as many UKAHT sites as the conditions allow. The pandemic has meant that we have not visited some of our sites for several years now. We’ll undertake some emergency repairs and perform condition surveys to help clarify our priorities for the coming seasons. Our maintenance team has reported that the windows at Port Lockroy need urgent attention, so we’re working on sourcing additional supplies to take with us to ensure the buildings are weather tight for the winter. This will be my first trip to Antarctica, and as you might imagine, I’m very excited.
Your favourite part of the job?
The opportunity to travel to Antarctica is obviously high on the list, but I think the thing I love most about this job is the variety. Whether it’s researching the type of screws used in 1944, hearing the oral testimony of those who constructed these huts, or discussing the suitability of particular paints for Antarctic conditions, there is always something to learn in buildings and artefacts!
Follow the team's progress on social media using #BacktoAntarctica