New Darwin letter found at musuem

A RARE and exciting discovery of a letter written by one of the World's most famous scientists will be unveiled tomorrow at Ipswich Museum, it has emerged.

THE rare and exciting discovery of a letter written by one of the World's most famous scientists will be unveiled tomorrow at Ipswich Museum, it has emerged.

While searching through the archives one member of staff stumbled across an original signed letter by Charles Darwin, the scientist who laid the foundations of the theory of evolution.

Joan Llyall, documentation officer for Colchester and Ipswich museum service said she had been prompted to look for correspondence after watching a programme on TV commemorating the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth.

“I learnt that Charles Darwin had been a prolific letter writer,” she said. “I ran a search on Modes - our museum documentation software - using 'Darwin' and the record for IPSMG: R.1924-134 appeared but with no location so I checked to see if there was a history file and there was the letter.


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“It was folded and had been hole punched at sometime in the distant past, that would never happen now, but otherwise was in good condition, especially in the inside pages.”

Darwin is known to have had a long connection with Ipswich Museum through his friendship with botanist and geologist John Stevens Henslow.

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Henslow was Darwin's tutor at Cambridge and was also responsible for bringing most of the natural history collection, still on display, to Ipswich Museum.

Following the opening of the museum in Ipswich in 1847, Henslow was elected president in 1850.

Peter Berridge Colchester and Ipswich Museum manager said staff had expected a find such as this due to the strong ties Darwin had with Ipswich.

“With Darwin's known connection with Ipswich museum we have been expecting a find some thing like this, it's a great privilege to have done so,” he said. “We predict that as time goes on we will be making many more great discovers in connection to Darwin.

“This news is also indicative of the kinds of other hidden treasures, stores and objects that we will continue to discover in our rich Museums collections in Ipswich.

“This discovery gives us a real sense of history and our past and it is wonderful that the original letter will be on display in this free museum for all to see and experience, especially as this is the year of celebrating Darwin nationally and this places Ipswich as part of this fascinating story.”

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