The Grants' bands for ringing finches

In 1973, British biologists Peter and Rosemary Grant began their scientific activities with Galapagos finches on Daphne Major islet. Their research would lead them to show, among other things, that natural selection can be seen within a single lifetime. One of the elements used in their field work was a series of colored plastic rings used to identify birds. A unique sample of those rings is preserved in the collections of the CDF Archive.

Feminine presence in the islands

Feminine presence in the islands

The scientists of the Noma and the Arcturus

The second chapter in the history of women in the Galapagos Islands addresses the arrival of the first female researchers and scientists, including Ruth Rose, Isabel Cooper, and Marie Poland Fish. They were part of the expeditions carried out aboard the Noma (1923) and the Arcturus (1925), both led by American ornithologist William Beebe, and organized by the New York Zoological Society. Those women would pave the way for many others, including those who now work at the Charles Darwin Research Station.

Contents & pieces

Piece, line, story and memory

The contents of the CDF Library, Archive & Museum can be organized and presented at different levels: individual pieces, pieces linked by different types of relationships that create narrative lines, pieces that interact and tell stories and anecdotes, and pieces that awaken and recover memories on the brink of oblivion. This section of Galapagueana presents selections of these four elements.

The piece


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 line


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 story


Rearing tortoises

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 memory


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.

The traces of the islands' memory

The traces of the islands' memory

Elements of Galapagos' cultural heritage

In terms of cultural heritage, a territory includes many spaces ─ as many as the functions it has fulfilled. In this sense, the Galapagos Islands have been a space for travel and discovery, one for colonization, one for industry, one for war, and a scientific space. Each of them is associated with a certain cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, which includes buildings, documents and marks on the ground. All of these are traces left in the archipelago by human presence, and are part of the island's social memory.

Galapagueana's collections

The islands' history & social memory

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. Find out what those collections are, and what are their most interesting elements.



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.



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.

Digital items

digital items

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.

Identification cards

identification cards

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.

More collections.

Fragments for a history of Galapagos

Fragments for a history of Galapagos

The discovery

One of the most important events in the history of Galapagos is precisely the one that began its human occupation: its "discovery". The fortuitous meeting of Spanish bishop Tomás de Berlanga with the archipelago, which occurred in 1535 and was recorded in a letter sent by the priest to the monarch Carlos I from Portoviejo, present-day Ecuador, was the beginning of a long series of visits, landings and colonizations. One that still continues.

Activities & projects

Publications, orality, memory and heritage

The activities and projects of the CDF Library, Archive & Museum include, among others, the publication of original, unpublished or recovered materials, conserved in our collections; the Galapagos Oral History Project; the recovery of pieces belonging to the social memory of the islands based on archival documents; and the location and identification of pieces that belong to the island's cultural and historical heritage. Here we present the general lines of action, along with some outcomes.



A history of Galapagos...

A history of Galapagos in fifteen documents is a book that compiles and presents, with a simple informative purpose, textual materials that, from a heritage perspective, represent milestones in the history of Galapagos.

Oral history

oral history

The importance of Galapagos' orality

Since, in many cases, there is no other documentary source available, orality has become the main repository of the social memory of Galapagos and, therefore, of its potential history. Hence the importance of CDF's Oral History program.

Social memory

social memory

The slides of the Baltra base

The audiovisual collection of the CDF Archive contains at least two series of slides related to daily life at the base that the US Army Air Force established on Baltra Island between 1942 and 1946.

(In)tangible heritage

(in)tangible heritage

The incubator at the CDRS

Among the structures that can be considered as part of the tangible cultural heritage of the Galapagos Islands (and part of its scientific memory) is the CDRS incubator, built by Anders Rambech in 1969 and still visible near La Ratonera beach.