The collections kept in the CDF Library, Archive & Museum include a considerable part of the history and social memory of the Galapagos Islands. Books, magazines, reports, manuscripts, reports, notes, photos, slides, audios, videos and artifacts are documents that, carefully organized, tell a story. Or thousands of them.
Generally organized by material or format, this section allows to discover them, and to explore their most interesting elements.
The collection of artistic works includes sketches, drawings and paintings by various creators who, while passing through the Galapagos, tried to capture in their works different aspects of the archipelago's biodiversity and landscapes. Organized by author, the collection includes curiosities such as a set of humorous drawings, unpublished sketches and original versions of illustrations used in books.
Drawings from nature
The art collection deposited in the CDF Archive includes original pieces, donated by their authors. A good part of them are drawings and illustrations of the Galapagos fauna, made from nature.
The calendar collection is a limited series of materials for the institutional promotion of the Charles Darwin Foundation, using a set of images related to the landscapes and biodiversity of the Galapagos Islands.
The count of time
Calendars have been one of the most successful tools in the history of advertising. CDF did not miss such an opportunity, and created a series of calendars in which it included images of the archipelago's landscapes and biodiversity.
The card collection includes personal and business cards, which record the identity and affiliation of those who visited the Charles Darwin Research Station at the turn of the last century.
An introduction with cards
The collection of visiting cards preserved in the CDF Archive allows establishing a kind of social, cultural, economic and political scheme of the organizations and actors present in the Galapagos Islands at the end of the last century.
The collection of digital items includes documents that today's media archeology calls "dead media": outdated materials that, until the end of the last century, were popular for transferring and storing information. The collection includes floppy disks, ZIP disks, CDs and DVDs, among others.
Digital items 001
The old diskettes
The CDF Archive houses various collections of digital information media, used from the 1980s to the present. One of them, the 3 ½ diskettes collection, has recently been recovered.
Digital items 002
Within the abundant collection of digital media in the CDF Archive are preserved materials that are now discontinued and very little known. Among them are the Travan tapes, released in 1995 and used mainly for backup copies.
The collection of identification documents or cards used by the CDF within its facilities at the Charles Darwin Research Station contains, up to now, half of all the cards issued by the institution, and allows the identity of the personnel who have carried out scientific work in the Galapagos Islands over the last four decades.
Identification cards 001
IDs at the CDF
One of the most curious collections housed in the CDF Archive is that of IDs: identification cards issued by the CDF for its scientists and workers, which allow tracking CDRS personnel since at least 1980.
The card collection includes both library catalog cards and those describing the biological collections at the Charles Darwin Station. All of them are original documents, and many contain unique details. Organized by groups, it contains interesting classification and organization data, especially those related to the biodiversity of the Galapagos.
Index cards 001
The collection of index cards kept in the CDF Archive includes both old library catalog cards and files from biological collections. Among the latter are those used in the identification of Galapagos flamingos.
The "manuscripts" collection contains a series of original documents, mostly unpublished, containing raw information about scientific work in the Galapagos Islands. They are documents in paper format, in good condition, handwritten or typed from handwritten notes. Some of them are mimeographed or photocopied copies of original documents lost due to preservation problems.
Unpublished notes on tortoises
The collection of "manuscripts" preserved in the CDF Library is made up of a series of valuable original works, some of them handwritten, and all of them unpublished. Like Miguel Castro's notes on tortoises from 1965.
A catalogue of invertebrates
The collection of inventory notebooks kept at the CDF is made up of a series of works, generally handwritten, that contain unique data. Among these notebooks is the original catalog of the biological collection of invertebrates.
The microforms collection includes a variety of documents that have undergone a microfilming process to facilitate and guarantee their correct storage and conservation.
The old seismograph at the Charles Darwin Research Station, now inoperative, has an exciting and well-documented history. Among the materials in the CDF Archive that tell the story are the microforms of the seismograms.
The collection of three-dimensional artifacts includes non-archaeological objects preserved in the CDF Archive and Museum. Such artifacts have direct links with other documents (generally textual and photographic), with which they form an organic unit. Organized by subject, it includes a wide variety of diverse materials, all of them related to Galapagos history.
The collection of objects kept in the CDF Archive and Museum is made up of various pieces, each one with a story. Among them are several hooks that back at the time put the lives of different animals in danger.
The photo collection includes paper-based and digital documents. Among the former are both old black and white photographs, in different formats (including full plates and negative proofs) and different formats of color photography. As with the rest of CDF's collections, all of them are original documents, sometimes unpublished, and many contain unique details.
Photos of CDF's staff in b/w
CDF's collection of paper-based photographs includes b/w and color items, as well as negatives. They cover a wide range of topics, including what appear to be ID-style photos of the entire CDRS staff.
Photo strips in b/w
One of the most unknown and least abundant materials in the CDF Archive are the photo proof prints, valuable elements for their originality and for including images of which there are neither negatives nor printed copies.
The collection of reports includes a series of varied nature, on supports of different materials and formats, including scientific and administrative documents on the activities carried out within the Charles Darwin Foundation throughout its history.
The meteorological station at the Charles Darwin Research Station was established in 1962 and has been producing reports and tables ever since. These documents make up one of the most abundant and continuous collections in the CDF Archives.
The collection of photographs on transparent supports are part of the huge audiovisual collection of the CDF Archive. The slides document in an incomparable way the history of the Galapagos and the development of scientific activities on the islands, leaving a unique record of characters, events and landscapes. Organized by author, it includes the photographic and documentary work of many scientists, researchers and travelers.
A little tortoise
The slide collection is one of the largest in the CDF Archive, and is made up of original images by various photographers. Among them is a snapshot of a small tortoise, placed on an adult's back.
The video collection contains a wide variety of moving image media: from acetate film reels to different cassette and video tape formats. The contents revolve around the academic and educational activities developed by CDF in the Galapagos.
Various types of video cassettes are kept in the audiovisual section of the CDF Archive. Among them stand out, due to their popularity and wide distribution, the VHS tapes, a series currently in the process of digitization.
Text & picture: Edgardo Civallero (email@example.com).
Publication date: 1 December 2021
Last update: 1 October 2023