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Happy Wallace Year 2013 - Welcome to Wallace100!w100_black.SMALL.jpg

 

Museum Wallace News

 

  • The 8th of this month sees Wallace's 190th birthday and on the 24 January the Museum will launch its Wallace100 events programme at an invitation-only evening function. During the event the Wallace Correspondence Project's digital archive of Wallace's correspondence, Wallace Letters Online, will be officially launched by comedian and natural historian Bill Bailey.

    Bill will also unveil a magnificent oil painting of Wallace which will hang on the wall to the right of the Darwin statue on the main stairs of the Museum's Central Hall. This portrait was actually donated to the Museum in 1923 to commemorate Wallace's 100th birthday, and it hung in that exact location for 50 years until it was put into storage.
  • The first public Wallace100 event of the year will take place on the 25 January. It will be a Nature Live talk by myself and Caroline Catchpole about the Museum's unrivalled archive of Wallace's manuscripts.
  • The next of the Museum's Wallace100 events will be a public lecture by the well-known geneticist and science writer Steve Jones on the 7 February. His talk is entitled "Wallace and the Joy of Sects: Rewriting the Bible as a scientific text"  and, although it is free, you will need to book a ticket to attend. Steve's talk is the first of 10 monthly talks in the Museum's Wallace100 Lecture Series.
  • The campaign to raise funds for a life-size bronze statue of Wallace for the Museum unfortunately has to close at the end of this month. So far about £19,000 has been contributed by about 45 generous donors, which is enough to commission a twice-life-size portrait bust of Wallace *IF* the campaign fails to reach its £50,000 target. So, please consider donating (any sum large or small) and entering the Free Prize Draw

 

Other News

 

  • Richard Dawkins suggests we should celebrate Wallace's birth in the same way that we celebrate Christmas.
  • The Biological Journal of the Linnean Society has a FREE 'virtual' issue dedicated to Wallace - very appropriate given that the seminal paper by Darwin and Wallace on evolution by natural selection was published by the Society in 1858.
And Finally ...

 

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Evolution by natural selection has been called "...arguably the most momentous idea ever to occur to a human mind" yet only one of its co-discoverers, Charles Darwin, is honoured by a statue in the Natural History Museum. The other, Alfred Russel Wallace, has no statue in this museum or indeed anywhere else in the world, a sad fact that the Wallace Memorial Fund would like to change.

 

About 2 months ago the Fund launched a campaign to raise the money needed for a life-size bronze statue of Wallace for the Museum, which if all goes to plan, will be unveiled on the 100th anniversary of his death, 7 November 2013. Unfortunately, fundraising has been slow and £38,000 remains to be found by the impending deadline of 31 January 2013.

 

In an attempt to publicise the campaign and boost donations the Wallace Fund has just launched a free prize draw with the following fantastic prizes:

 

  • A pair of tickets to attend a very special event at the Natural History Museum on Thursday the 7 November 2013 - the 100th anniversary of Wallace's death. Details of this event have not been finalised, but it is very likely that there will be a lecture by Sir David Attenborough at the start of the event. Bill Bailey should be attending the event and he and/or Sir David will unveil the Wallace statue - that is if sufficient money has been raised to commission it! Tickets to the lecture will be in short supply and the VIP event afterwards will be by invitation only.
  • An exclusive leather-bound copy of the hand-printed book The Letter from Ternate by Tim Preston which is due to be published in Spring 2013. Only 100 individually numbered copies of this book will be produced and the standard copies will be cloth-bound.
  • A pack of assorted Bill Bailey merchandise - some/all will be signed by Bill himself.
  • A signed copy of the hardback edition of the book Natural Selection and Beyond edited by Charles Smith and George Beccaloni.

 

More details about the draw may be found on the Wallace Memorial Fund website.

Charles_Darwin_Statue,_Natural_History_Museum,_London (1).jpgThe Natural History Museum's magnificent statue of Darwin
Photo copyright Eluveitie/London