Press Releases

Darwin Online a 'monumental achievement'

Thackray Medal awarded at National Museum Cardiff

The John Thackray Medal given by the Society for the History of Natural History for success in the field of the history and bibliography of natural history, will be presented to Dr van Wyhe for The complete works of Charles Darwin Online, at the international society's AGM at National Museum Cardiff this weekend (27 - 28 March 2008).

Dr van Wyhe - a historian of science at the University of Cambridge is the founder and Director of Darwin Online ( - the world's largest and most widely used resource on Charles Darwin. He will collect the award on behalf of the project.

The resource is described by the Society for the History of Natural History as:

"A monumental achievement: making freely available an exhaustive collection of primary sources and doing so in a way that is easy to use by both novices and experts."

The ceremony will take place during the society's Spring Meeting and AGM 2009 at National Museum Cardiff which will focus on ‘Darwin's legacy: exploring diversity and evolution in the history of field biology.' Speakers include Prof. Tony Campbell from the Darwin Centre in Pembrokeshire, Professor Arthur Lucas, Principal at Kings College London, experts in Natural History and Archaeology from Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales and Dr van Wyhe himself will give a lecture on Dr John Ramsbottom OBE.

Maureen Lazarus from the Museum's department of Biodiversity & Systematic Biology and a member of the society's council said:

"Welcoming the Society for the History of Natural History to Wales this year is a great privilege, especially as this year's such an important occasion for evolution and Charles Darwin. The event also coincides with the Museum's exhibition, Darwin: A Revolutionary Scientist which is at the Museum until January 2010."

For further information about the meeting please visit

Admission to National Museum Cardiff is free thanks to the support of the Welsh Assembly Government. Amgueddfa Cymru operates seven national museums across Wales. These are National Museum Cardiff, St Fagans: National History Museum, National Roman Legion Museum, Caerleon, Big Pit: National Coal Museum, Blaenafon, National Wool Museum, Dre-fach Felindre, National Slate Museum, Llanberis and the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.


For further information, images or interview opportunities, please contact Catrin Mears, Communications Officer, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales on (029) 2057 3185 / 07920 027067 or email

Notes to Editors:

• The Society for the History of Natural History is the only international society devoted to the history of botany, zoology and geology, in the broadest sense, including natural history collections, exploration, art and bibliography. Everyone with an interest in these subjects - professional or amateur - is welcome to join.

• John Thackray (1948 - 99) was the Society's late President. The Medal, instituted in 2000 to commemmorate the life and work of John Thackray, is awarded annually to an outstanding contribution to the history of natural history realised in the preceding three years.