One of the processes developed by the Charles Darwin Foundation's (CDF) Library, Archive and Museum area is the work with the island's cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible. Within this framework, one of the activities carried out is the location and identification of elements belonging to that heritage, which nowadays is scarcely identified and protected.
Galapagos tangible heritage is an essential part of the islands' history and memory. It is made up of places, buildings, engineering works, architectural complexes, ruins, landmarks, monuments, signs, and all kinds of objects, from archaeological remains to books and other bibliographic documents.
And within that motley set is the inaugural plaque of the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS).
Preserved today in the archives of the CDF, the plaque, made of cast iron, was once part of a monolith located at the entrance to the CDRS. The oral tradition of the CDF indicates that this monolith was there until the 2000s, at which time, for unknown reasons, it was demolished; the photographic documentation kept in the CDF library confirms the data.
The text, in Spanish, is brief: "The Charles Darwin Research Station was inaugurated in the presence of the Ecuadorian authorities on January 21, 1964". On that date, in a ceremony led by Dr. Harold J. Coolidge, and with the presence of two members of the Ecuadorian Military Junta (including General Gándara, a botany enthusiast) and the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs, a space was officially inaugurated which, under the direction of Raymond Lévêgue first and André Brosset later, had been built since 1960 with innumerable efforts.
The plaque thus gives an account of a fact that marked, in many ways, the history of Galapagos: the beginning of the CDF's continuous presence in the islands and the establishment of its permanent work base in the neighborhood of Puerto Ayora.
Charles Darwin Foundation. [Inaugural plaque]. [Artifact]. Galapagos : CDF, 1964. [N.d.] : [n.d.] : 30 x 60 cm. DDC 986. Well preserved.
Text & picture: Edgardo Civallero (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Publication date: 1 December 2021
Last update: 1 December 2021