The contents of the CDF Library, Archive & Museum can be structured and presented at different levels. Materials can be understood, for example, as individual pieces; as pieces joined by relationships of different kinds that create narrative lines; as elements that interact with each other to tell stories and anecdotes; and as materials that allow to recover memories on the brink of oblivion.
The pieces presented in Galapagueana are individual documents: elements that allow the codification of knowledge and memory and that, therefore, have a documentary (and, sometimes, heritage) value. In their role as pieces, they are analyzed and understood as independent materials and as parts of a context that gives them meaning and significance.
On the Nourmahal
The Galapagos expedition organized by American billionaire Astor in 1930 aboard the Nourmahal left a wonderful photo album. We rescued one of them: the one of a sailor with a sea lion pup on his lap.
A tortoise's beginnings
The work of reproduction and rearing of the Galapagos giant tortoises has been documented in countless materials. Among the most iconic are the photographs and slides that record the moment when the eggs hatch.
The narrative lines selected for Galapagueana are series of pieces or documents linked by relationships of different types. The threads that link those elements in meaningful narratives can be of very different natures, and depend on the analyst's gaze.
Animals in trouble
Several pieces from different collections at the CDF Archive make reference to injured animals: Galapagos fauna found with hooks, ropes or other elements. This narrative line recovers that story.
Taking care of tortoises
Several documents preserved in different collections at the CDF Library and Archive give an account of the process of reproduction and rearing of the giant Galapagos tortoises. This narrative line recovers that story.
The stories included in Galapagueana are born from the interaction and combination of different pieces and/or lines. These stories can take the form of anecdotes, or compose solid narrative frameworks that collect different elements of knowledge and memory and put them to dialogue to generate new materials.
Pirates and jelly
A manuscript at the British Museum, quoted by Heyerdahl, tells a story of pirates who buried their loot in the Galapagos, including jars of quince jelly. The CDF Museum collection brings us that story.
The book Galapagos: A brief history, written by Jacob Lundh, son of Norwegian colonists settled in Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz), gathers the early details of the process of reproduction and rearing of the Galapagos giant tortoises at the CDF.
The memories shared in Galapagueana are evoked by the pieces, lines and stories: fragments and experiences saved from oblivion, which are revived and built from preserved documents, oral tradition and other elements.
Pottery in the ponds
The search for archaeological artifacts in the highlands of Santa Cruz, using some of those currently preserved in the CDF Museum as a guide, recovered some curious memories of the local community.
The tortoise #1000
A series of slides taken by photographer Tui de Roy in Española documents the moment of the release of tortoise #1000 on that island, and revives memories of the work developed by Galapagos National Park's ranger Fausto Llerena Sánchez.
Text & picture: Edgardo Civallero (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Publication date: 1 December 2021
Last update: 1 May 2022