Scots charity reopens world’s most remote museum

A TEAM has completed its 8,000-mile journey to reopen the world’s most remote museum on South Georgia.

The Dundee-based South Georgia Heritage Trust runs the museum on behalf of the Government of South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands, a British Overseas Territory in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

Around 15,000 tourists are expected to visit the South Georgia Museum during the southern hemisphere’s summer.

The Scots on the team are: Deirdre Mitchell, the new South Georgia director, from Dunfermline; new museum assistant Helen Balfour from Lerwick on Shetland; and Aoife McKenna, a recent graduate from the University of St Andrews, who is the new curatorial intern.

They are joined by curator Jayne Pierce from Bath, and senior museum assistant Lauren Elliott from Portsmouth.

Mitchell said: “As a Scot, I’m particularly fascinated by the many Scottish connections with South Georgia’s whaling history and how we seem to be drawn to this remote island.

“I also can’t wait to be surrounded by the island’s incredible wildlife and landscape once again, and to share this amazing place with visitors from across the world so they can find out more about the island’s remarkable wildlife and heritage.”

Balfour has strong family connections with South Georgia – both her grandfathers and one great-grandfather were whalers at the island in the 1950s and 1930s respectively.

Her grandfather, James Balfour, first visited South Georgia in 1952 and, after a decade of whaling, was on board one of the last whale catcher vessels that worked out of Grytviken.

Her other grandfather, Alan Leask, started whaling as a 16 year old and did two seasons, as did her great-grandfather, Thomas Balfour, 20 years earlier.

Read more articles on Scottish Field’s news pages.

Plus, don’t miss the November issue of Scottish Field magazine.