Galapagos in Life magazine

In 1957, UNESCO sent an expedition led by Austrian ethologist Iräneus Eibl-Eibesfeldt to the Galapagos Islands to assess the status of local biodiversity and search for a location for a potential biological station. The team that traveled to the archipelago included a photographer and an illustrator from Life magazine, whose work ended up being published in the September 5, 1958 issue. It was one of the first texts on Galapagos and its fauna to be published in a renowned magazine with international scope. The CDF Library is fortunate to have a copy of this issue in good condition.  

Feminine presence in the islands

Feminine presence in the islands

The colonists of Floreana

The fourth chapter of the history of women in the Galapagos Islands recovers the mentions, in the literature of the time, of the first women colonists in the archipelago: those who occupied Floreana Island after Colonel Ignacio Hernández took official possession of the insular territory on February 12, 1832 in the name of the Republic of Ecuador.  

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


Van Straelen | Dr. Hurtado

One of the most emblematic buildings of the Charles Darwin Research Station is the Van Straelen. A number of documents from the CDF Archives give an account of its history. Including a visit by Ecuadorian Vice-President Osvaldo Hurtado in 1979.  

The line


Van Straelen | Invitations and speeches

The Van Straelen building of the Charles Darwin Research Station hosted the celebrations for the 20th anniversary of the creation of the CDF in 1979. Among the documents in the Institutional Archive are invitations and speeches from the event.  

The story


Van Straelen | Weber's plans

The original layout of the Charles Darwin Research Station did not include an educational space. In 1968, Swiss botanist and architect Daniel Weber designed the plans for the Van Straelen building, which opened in 1973 as an exhibition and conference hall.  

The memory


Van Straelen | The information panels

The design of the information contents of the exhibition hall in the Van Straelen building was a process that began with the inauguration of the space in 1973 and continues today. A series of documents from the CDF Archive provide an account of its development.  

The traces of the islands' memory

The traces of the islands' memory

The Galapagoan intangible heritage

Intangible heritage is understood as that part of cultural heritage that, as its name suggests, cannot be touched: a set of non-physical practices, representations, expressions, knowledge and skills that are usually part of the folklore, customs, beliefs and traditions of a place, a people and/or a community. It is a vital part of human culture. For a community, a people or a society is much more than its material culture: it is, above all, its knowledge and memories.  

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.

Travan tapes

digital items

Travan tapes

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 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.  

Meteorological reports


Meteorological reports

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 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.  

More collections.

Fragments for a history of Galapagos

Fragments for a history of Galapagos

The conquistador who came fleeing

After the discovery of the islands by the Spanish bishop Tomás de Berlanga in 1535, the Galapagos vanished from the historical record. But only for a few years. They reappeared in 1546, with the adventure of Diego de Rivadeneira, a Spanish conquistador who, fleeing by boat from his adversaries during the bloody War of the Conquerors of Peru, ended up being swept by the currents to the Encantadas. His was a little-known story of colonial vicissitudes.   

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.



Corley's Galapagos

British G. T. Corley Smith was Ambassador of the United Kingdom to Ecuador and Secretary General of the CDF. During his work in the Galapagos, he produced a manuscript on the history of the islands, hitherto unpublished, which has just been recovered by the CDF.  

Oral history

oral history

Orality's materials

The spoken word can be preserved in a number of media. While audiovisuals have traditionally been preferred, enhancing the oral channels themselves is also a valuable option, especially in places such as the Galapagos Islands.  

Social memory

social memory

Corrientes bulletin

The Corrientes bulletin was produced between 1993 and 1995 by the CDF for Galapagos teachers as part of the institutional educational strategies. The copies preserved in the CDRS Library allow us to review its history.  

(In)tangible heritage

(in)tangible heritage

The seismograph's cabin

Isolated in a corner of the Charles Darwin Research Station, a now abandoned wooden cabin holds a number of stories. Among them, that of having been the space where, at the time, the CDF seismograph was located.  



Linda Cayot through her footprints

Librarians and archivists are trained to reconstruct facts from the little bits of knowledge and memory that we store on our shelves. At the end of the day, human beings are nothing more than the sum of the memories and the traces that we leave behind. Linda Jean Cayot was no exception. And there were many the traces that she left.
Letters from the library

Letters from the library

#23. A Merlenesque story [In memoriam]

Godfrey Merlen was one of the scientists with the largest and longest presence at the Charles Darwin Research Station ― and in the Galapagos. His particular profile was easily recognizable from afar in Puerto Ayora. The same is true of his work, which is everywhere to be found in the CDF Library, Archives & Museum...