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Policy On The Release And Movement Of Artefacts 2017

South Georgia has a unique heritage, which includes the remains of the former whaling stations and their historic buildings, wrecks and hulks, sealing artefacts, early expeditions and sites of historic interest. There are important links to polar exploration and science, including a number of objects connected to Sir Ernest Shackleton.

The Government recognises the widespread interest in South Georgia’s heritage. Our Strategy 2021-2025 Protect, Sustain, Inspire sets out the Government’s ambition to conserve, share and extend remote access to the cultural heritage of the Territory. The delivery plan includes a number of specific milestones, including:

  • In 2025 a new policy for the restoration, protection or other works on historic sites will be issued reflecting the PSI position that focusses on Grytviken as the main visitor location on heritage matters.
  • We will work with partners, so that by 2025, South Georgia Museum has met the standards of the UK Arts Council Museum Accreditation Scheme.
  • Working through relevant orgnaisations, we will complete by 2026 an online resource that provides a comprehensive record of the Territory’s key physical heritage assets and artefacts for wider public disseminations.
  • In 2028 we will have reviewed and updated our policies on how certain categories of heritage are managed, preserved and protected. When making these decisions we will consider the level of long-term liability that might fall to the Government.
  • By the end of 2028, all remaining oil, which it is possible to safely remove, will be removed from the disused whaling stations and removed from South Georgia.

The South Georgia Museum in Grytviken has an important role in showcasing and communicating South Georgia’s heritage and ensuring visitors are aware of the rich and diverse history of this special place, and how attitudes to the natural environment have changed over time. The management of the Museum is delivered by the UK-based charity South Georgia Heritage Trust and there is a dedicated website.

The Government is in the process of revising its policy on the release and movement of artefacts, in order to ensure that public benefit can be derived from those who are unable to view the collections in-situ.

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