Wallace News Blog

New news and views on news, usually by George Beccaloni

A new Wallace blog

I have been asked by the Natural History Museum in London (where I work) to write posts for a blog designed to keep people up-to-date with the many exciting Wallace-related activities which are being planned by the Museum and others around the world to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Wallace's death in 2013 (a global celebration we are calling Wallace100). The blog will also have posts on a diverse array of other Wallace-related things, ranging from anecdotes about his life, to stories about notable natural history specimens he collected during his epic eight year expedition to the Malay Archipelago (i.e. Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia). See the blog here: http://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/community/wallace100

Since there will be overlap between this blog and the Museum's Wallace100 one, I have decided to post all news relating to Wallace100 plus any more general posts about Wallace's life and work only on the Museum's blog. The WMF blog will focus on news about the Memorial Fund and its projects - such as the statue. I will put links to posts from both blogs on the Wallace Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Alfred-Russel-Wallace/50145041283). The Museum's Wallace100 blog will run until November 2013, after which time I may return completely to the WMF's blog.

Wallace Statue Campaign Receives First Major Donation

The Wallace Fund is extremely grateful to Dr Alan Smith CBE, FRS for getting the campaign to raise funds for a life-size bronze statue of Wallace off to an excellent start with a very generous donation of £10,000 GBP. Alan believes, as we do, that Wallace provides an excellent role model for getting children interested in science. The statue will certainly help inspire the many children who will see it.

Alan is an Alumnus of Christ's College, Cambridge, the same College that Darwin attended. He is the benefactor who paid for Christ's magnificent statue of Darwin as a young man, which was sculpted by Anthony Smith and unveiled in 2009 (Anthony will also sculpt the Wallace statue and despite having the same surname, is not related to Alan!) See:




Call for Ideas for Wallace Centenary Project

Anthropologist Richard Milner, (author of  Darwin’s Universe: Evolution from A to Z) is developing plans for a large Alfred Russel Wallace Centenary Project, to begin in 2013, the hundredth anniversary of the great naturalist’s death, for which he is seeking funding from the John Templeton Foundation and possibly other sources.

Milner has assembled a roster of distinguished advisors to the project, including Wallace historians George Beccaloni and Charles Smith, anthropologist Ian Tattersall, primatologist Robert Sussman, authors Jonathan Weiner and Michael Shermer, evolutionary biologist and animal behaviorist Lee Dugatkin, paleoanthropologist Will Harcourt-Smith, and other leading scholars.

Our program is still under development, but is currently conceived as a “Big Tent” series of events and subprojects, and we may be able to incorporate some of your ideas for new proposed work, as well as for ongoing research already in progress. The present plan includes major conferences to be held in London, New York, and possibly other international locations as well. We are also amenable to joining and possibly contributing funds or sponsorship to other Wallace Celebratory events and publications which may be already in the planning stages for 2013.

We would love to hear about Wallace-inspired or influenced scholarly and scientific research projects, papers, and activities from biologists, historians of science, anthropologists, ethologists, prehistorians and archeologists, ethicists, theologians, philosophers, primatologists, and others. Our goal is to encompass, topically, such diverse areas as biogeography; human nature; biological evolution; origin of life; social, cultural, and spiritual evolution; altruism and cooperation; ethics and philosophy, and, programmatically, to fund meetings, research, and educational outreach that will promote and advance knowledge of the Victorian genius’s life and intellectual legacy.

Ideas, suggestions, proposals, and inquiries may be sent directly to Richard Milner, Project Director, at rmilner@nyc.rr.com

Campaign for a Wallace Statue Launched

The Wallace Memorial Fund has today launched its most ambitious fund-raising campaign yet - a drive to raise £50,000 (GBP) for a magnificent life-size bronze statue of Wallace, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his death on the 7th November 2013 (see http://wallacefund.info/statue and http://wallacefund.info/notes-wallace-statue). It will be offered to the The Natural History Museum in London, and the intention is that it will be unveiled on the actual anniversary date next year. The deadline for the fundraising is the 31st January 2013, which is neccessary to give the sculptor, Anthony Smith, enough time to make and deliver the piece.

The campaign is backed by our Patron, Bill Bailey and our Treasurer, Wallace's grandson Dick, both of whom are very enthusiastic about the project!

£50,000 is a huge amount to raise in just over 6 months, so please dig deep into your pockets! Any amount, however small, or large (!), will be extremely gratefully received. Thanks!!

A song about Alfred Russel Wallace!

Sreela Banerjee of the Pyr Project wrote to tell me about a brilliant song the project has recently produced about Wallace. It is called 'Wallace was a very busy man' - and it is sung by the Charles Matthews Singers, who are children (largely) from Mickleton Primary School, in Gloucestershire. To hear it click HERE and then on "The Wallace song" (or simply CLICK HERE). The words can be read HERE and the music HERE. There are some nice resources for kids about Wallace, the Wallace Line, and Wallace's world, on the project's "Resources" page.

This must be the first song ever written about Wallace - the only other I know which even mentions him is this one: http://wallacefund.info/mr-darwin-mr-wallace-mr-matthew-song-mr-haines




Wallace Patrons Meet Each Other For the First Time!

The patron of the Wallace Memorial Fund, Bill Bailey, and the patron of the Wallace Correspondence Project (WCP), Sir David Attenborough, met each other for the first time last night in the Natural History Museum in London. They were both involved in filming for a two part series about Wallace, which is being presented by Bill, and will be broadcast early in 2013.

I had never properly met Sir David before, so I took the opportunity to introduce myself. I mentioned that I was the director of the WCP and thanked him for agreeing to be the patron of the project. Although I didn't mention my name he said  "Oh, so you must be Dr Beccaloni" - which impressed me greatly as my surname isn't the easiest name to remember!

David Attenborough, George Beccaloni & Bill BaileyDavid Attenborough (left), George Beccaloni (centre) & Bill Bailey (right) in the Central Hall of the Natural History Museum, London.
Photo. by Jan Beccaloni.

The Wallace100 logo has been chosen.

Many thanks to those of you who completed the Natural History
Museum's survey to choose a logo for Wallace100. The survey closed on Tuesday
June 19th, and I can report that an overwhelming majority preferred
logo 1 – thinking that it was more eye-catching, appealing, legible etc than
logo 2. A final version of logo 1 will now be produced, before it is released
for use. Watch this space!

Wallace100 Prototype Logo 1

Wallace100 Prototype Logo 2



Some Wallace News

There is so much Wallace-related stuff going on at the moment in preparation for the anniversary of his death next year, that I have had to neglect this blog somewhat. Not only am I heavily involved in the planning for the London Natural History Museum's series of Wallace-related events for 2013 (called Wallace100) but I am also working on a number of other Wallace projects. One of these is a campaign to raise funds for a life-size bronze statue of Wallace for the Natural History Museum, which will be the Wallace Memorial Fund's main contribution to the 2013 celebrations. More about this and other activities soon!

Two things I managed to do on this site today are to add some more images of Wallace's wonderful paintings and drawings to our image gallery (https://picasaweb.google.com/WallaceMemorialFund/WallaceSArtwork) and to create a list of all known Wallace films - see http://wallacefund.info/wallace-biographies

Talking of Wallace films, I took the photo of our Patron, comedian Bill Bailey, at the Natural History Museum recently during filming for a 2 part series about Wallace which Bill is presenting. It will be broadcast early next year.

Bill Bailey & Wallace
Bill & Alfred

Help to choose the Wallace100 logo.

The Natural History Museum in London is conducting a public survey to help choose a logo for Wallace100. Wallace100 is the name for an informal international association of partners with projects designed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Wallace’s death in 2013.

The Museum has designed two logos and it wants to know which one YOU think would be the best (most striking, clearest, memorable, attractive etc) for use on websites, printed leaflets etc. The survey takes only about 30 seconds to do, so please let us know what you think and click on the following link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/NDBP7XD



WALLACE100 wins!

In my last post I asked readers to choose between WALLACE2013 and WALLACE100 as the name for the programme of activities which will take place in 2013 at the Natural History Museum, London and elsewhere around the world, to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Wallace's death. A total of about 140 people took part in the poll and WALLACE100 was chosen by over 60% of voters. A logo for WALLACE100 is currently being designed.

Thanks to all of you who voted.

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