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A famous crate of Antarctic booze makes another big splash.
The ultimate goal for the crate and its contents is to return them to the hut, which is preserved much as it looked the day Shackleton sailed away in 1909 after turning around about 97 miles short of the pole.
The one-foot tall, 1.5-foot wide crate is currently in a glass-fronted freezer where its temperature is gradually being raised from -4 degrees Fahrenheit to zero. At that point it will be moved to a small, 39-degree room in the museum with a window that allows visitors to peek inside while conservators examine the crate, bottles, corks and paper labels.
Meek expects the thawing to take less than a week. She wasn’t sure if the crate would stay on display after it’s fully examined. The museum has set up a blog and video of the crate for online fans.
The conservators are hoping to learn the best way to thaw the artifacts by watching what happens to the wood and contents in the highly controlled museum spaces. They’ll take that knowledge with them to Antarctica where they’ll work to conserve the other crates.
“Oftentimes conservators work behind the scenes,” Meek said. “It’s really a fantastic experience to be more involved with the public so that people can engage with their history.”
And, one hopes, to drink it.