Progress Report

August, 2018: The UNICORN Virtual Museum of Medieval Studies and Medievalism becomes a subset of the new official name, The UNICORN Virtual Museum.  The new Board of Directors is forthcoming.

November, 2015: Due to personal illness, work on the museum is temporarily suspended.

October, 2015: Conference sessions are held via Skype for the Annual International Conference on Medievalism (ISSM), Washington and Jefferson College, Lauryn Mayer (Conference Chair).

June 30, 2015 at 4.30pm British Summer Time: The inaugural live streamed event (via Google) of the UNICORN Virtual Museum Cloud Conference session, in cooperation with The Middle Ages in the Modern World (MAMO) conference being held the University of Lincoln (June 29, 2015 to July 2, 2015), Andrew Elliot (Conference Chair).

June, 2015: Work Begun: Medieval Electronic Multimedia Organization (MEMO) hopes to have non-profit status established by September, 2015. Having such a status would mean that MEMO could work freely with other scholarly and amateur organizations, as well as various universities and colleges, to raise funds and to move expediently forward in this project, as well as other medievalist electronic mulimedia projects.

May, 2015: A Board of Directors for The UNICORN Virtual Museum of Medieval Studies and Medievalism is nearly established.

May, 2015: Decision: The First Annual UNICORN Museum Conference will be held in 2016! This first year’s conference will most likely not have avatars and 3D graphic spaces, but it will be purely online, except when certain sessions are jointly held with sessions attached to on-land conferences.

April, 2015: We have a logo!

Digital unicorn flying through monitor flag

Designed by William Robinson

March, 2015: Plans are in motion to co-teach the course CHIVALRY & ROMANCE by Lesely A. Coote (University of Hull) and Carol L. Robinson (Kent State University-Trumbull), with shared space at The UNICORN Virtual Museum WORKPLACE. This will take place in FALL 2016.

February 20-21, 2015: The first online/on-land conference session experiments were held in cooperation with Ohio State University’s Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies for their conference Popular Culture and the Deep Past, Tolkien Days.

February, 2015: A Masterbid, to be used as a base for grant applications, has been completed.

December, 2014: The first multi-member Skype meeting was held to further organize plans for the first year of work.

November, 2014: A List of on-land/online participation sessions was established for the 2015 year.

October, 2014: The first multi-member meeting of future Board of Directors was held at the 29th International Conference on Medievalism.

May, 2014: MEMO decides to build a virtual museum of medieval studies and medievalism.

A Brief Narrative of Origins:

Several years ago, Carol Robinson worked with Mark Natale to try to build small exhibits for her Literature in English I class (British Literature before 1800) at Kent State University—Trumbull. They used UNITY to attempt to build a “3D” exhibit of the Ruthwell Cross, with the intention that students could “walk” around the cross and examine it via their avatar selves. They had mild success in their attempts, mostly due to time and work constraints. A couple of years later, Carol and Pamela Clements (Siena College, US), who were the Chief Leaders of Medieval Electronic Multimedia Organization (MEMO) at the time, together wrote an invited proposal for a “video game styled archive” of medievalist works. While that proposal was not accepted (it turned out that the publisher was not ready to go beyond paper print publishing) the ideas continued to germinate. In the late Spring of 2014, long done with their first published book anthology and not interested in moving forward with print publications of that nature, the members of MEMO decided to take the virtual museum project on as the organization’s central production. Carol worked with Lesley Coote (University of Hull, UK) to seek grant funding for building the UNICORN Virtual Museum of Medievalism and Medieval Studies.  Carol and Helen Young (Deakin University, AUS) began experimenting with offering jointly taught international courses and supporting online sessions for various medieval and medievalism conferences; the museum supported online sessions for International Society for the Study of Medievalism (ISSM) and The Middle Ages in the Modern World (Andrew Elliot, Conference Chair).

The last official event of The UNICORN Virtual Museum of Medievalism and Medieval Studies was to support online sessions for the International Conference on Medievalism (ISSM) held in Pittsburgh, PA (Lauryn Mayer, Conference Chair, 2015).  In August, 2015, Carol was diagnosed with cancer and spent the next three years regaining the illusion of control over her life.   The museum went into hiatus. Meanwhile, Pam retired, Lesley partially retired, and Helen Young has continued to publish books and articles on race and medievalism.

In August, 2018 Carol revived and renamed the museum to involve its increasingly broader and more general focus: The UNICORN Virtual Museum.  A Board of Directors will be renamed, and revised plans will be posted soon.