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Other news: Issue 16, March 2016
Expansion of the MeMO database & a new MeMO website
For some time, the MeMO project has had the wish to expand its database with an entirely new type of object, namely liturgical vestments. In addition, MeMO wanted to create an accompanying website on the donations of these vestments. Thanks to the financial support of the K.F. Hein Fonds, both ambitions have now been realized.
In the autumn of 2015, 25 descriptions of liturgical vestments were added to the database. It concerns chasubles, dalmatics, copes and fragments of vestments which show one or more coats of arms, texts and/or portraits. As is the case with the other objects in the MeMO database, the vestments functioned in the area that is currently the Netherlands and date from before 1580. The descriptions are in English and can be found here.
Furthermore, MeMO is proud to announce the launch of a new website called Schenkingen van liturgische gewaden (in English: Donations of liturgical vestments). This Dutch website focuses on the donation process and the creation of vestments, their use and post-medieval fate. It also provides background information on seven of the vestments that are described in the database. The website is compiled and designed by Corinne van Dijk, project leader of MeMO, and Bart Holterman, a former MeMO employee and currently a PhD student at the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven.
Visit the MeMO project's Facebook page
In June 2014 the MeMO project launched its new Facebook page. On this page visitors can find news and updates concerning MeMO, for example regarding new products and projects, and changes in staff. We will also use this page to post notifications regarding the MeMO database, for instance when new entries and photographs have been added, or when other significant improvements have been made.
In addition to this, we use our Facebook page to post news about memoria in general, such as about new symposiums and events. We are also interested in sharing new press announcements, for example when new memorial texts or objects have been discovered. We warmly invite the readers of MMR to also share their announcements with us. We hope that the MeMO Facebook page can grow into a community hub and platform for memoria researchers to share news and to make new contacts - perhaps even to ask, or help answer questions regarding personal research projects.
Our Facebook page is freely accessible, even to visitors who do not have a Facebook account of their own. However, if you wish to respond to any posts there, having an account will be necessary.
Click here to visit the MeMO Facebook page now.
The 'Tot Gedachtenis' Foundation
The MeMO project represents a giant step forward towards the creation of an inventory, and the preservation and the analysis of the multiform Dutch heritage in the field of the remembrance of the deceased, in all its aspects up to the reformation. For the first time the MeMO project presents an integrated survey of the surviving visual, material, and textual testimonies. From decorated tombstones to memorial registers, all these sources tell their own stories about the ways in which death, funeral, and remembrance were intertwined with life and thought of our ancestors. The database created by the MeMO project allows its users to learn about the existence of these sources and the places where these sources are kept. Each source comes with an elaborate description which may help users on their way towards further study and interpretation, and in most cases the database also provides high-quality images of the sources. Consequently the MeMO database is a perfect instrument for further research.
Yet, every instrument has to be maintained, adjusted and perfected. Its use needs to be promoted, and it requires professionals to support and assist the users. In other words: continuity and support are required to fully take advantage of the MeMO database as one of the most important tools for (especially) the history of art, culture and mentality, constructed over the last few decades. Unfortunately, modern policy-makers are scarcely aware of these essential notions. Instead they place an emphasis on short-term planning and quick, single results. This has been one of the most important motivations for starting the 'Tot Gedachtenis' Foundation in late March 2015.
The prime objective of the foundation - in short - is to enable research and publications in the field of the remembrance of the deceased and the memorial practices up to the start of the seventeenth century. The terms of the Foundation allow a huge variety of research and publications, and a wide range of topics. Although these objectives exceed the scope of the MeMO project and the database developed within it, the Foundation will first aim to support the activities that contribute to completing and maintaining MeMO. As without these activities, further scholarly research and valorization serving a wider audience remain unattainable ideals. In providing the necessary means, the foundation may offer MeMO valuable support, alongside the technical support guaranteed by Utrecht University. Additionally, one of the goals of the foundation, formulated in its first plan of action, is to enhance the use of MeMO and the training of young talent through different activities. The Foundation is assisted in mapping out its future course by a Board of Advisors composed of Prof.em. Koen Goudriaen, Prof. Jos Koldeweij, Dr. Justin Kroesen, Prof.Mrs. Inger Leemans, Drs.Mrs. Andrea van Leerdam, Prof.em. Peter Raedts and Dr. Matthias Übl.
Thanks to generous donations the Foundation has acquired a modest starting capital, enabling us, in cooperation with Utrecht University, to safeguard - as one of its first achievements - the continuation of several activities of junior staff that has matured under the expert and caring supervision of Dr. Truus van Bueren. A wish list for further action is currently being drafted. Financing of a solid kind will need to be found for the realization of these plans, and acquiring larger donations as well as smaller gifts will remain essential. Being recognized by the Dutch Tax Authority as a cultural ANBI (cultural institution aiming to serve the common good), donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible in the Netherlands to a degree of 125%. For further information we refer the reader to the Foundation's Secretary of the Board, Drs.Mrs. Jeannette van Arenthals (contact details available in the pdf version of this newsletter). Hopefully many of you will see the appeal of serving the past by building MeMO's future!
Prof.em. Dick E.H. de Boer
President of the Board of the 'Tot Gedachtenis' Foundation
Launch of a new website: Utrechtse Kronieken (Utrecht Chronicles)
Universiteit Utrecht - Het Utrechts Archief
On 2 June 2015 a new (Dutch) website was launched, which offers searchable full-text scans and transcriptions of eight chronicles of Utrecht, dating back to the 14th, 15th and 16th century. For a number of manuscripts translations are also available, and the entirety of this website's contents is fully searchable.
Some of the chronicles belonged to monasteries, while others document the history of the bishops of Utrecht and the wars they waged against the counts of Holland. Several of the chronicles available on this website have also been described in the MeMO database, and therefore contain information relevant to memoria researchers.
Note: This project was originally called Utrechtse Kronieken: Sleutels tot de Utrechtse Geschiedenis.
Map of Medieval Monastic Life in the Netherlands
One of the websites which is frequently referred to in the articles of MeMO (Medieval Memoria Online), is the Kloosterlijst: Beknopt overzicht van de Nederlandse kloosters in de Middeleeuwen (Catalogue of Monasteries: Succinct Survey of Dutch monasteries in the Middle Ages, available at: http://www2.let.vu.nl/oz/kloosterlijst/). This website has now been extended by the addition of a digital Map, the Kloosterkaart.
The main component of the Kloosterlijst is a database containing records on each individual monastery or comparable institute of religious perfection existing for a shorter or longer period within the medieval Northern Low Countries. This is not a classical monasticon with elaborate articles on each monastery: only basic data are given, as well as references to the most relevant recent literature. The list, however, is comprehensive and covers monasteries of all orders present in the medieval Netherlands; the number of items is slightly over 700. Additional datasets list the grangiae (agricultural outposts) of the rural monasteries, and the urban 'term houses' of the mendicants. Moreover, a List of Eliminations passes in review those (numerous) monasteries whose existence is sometimes supposed in scholarly literature, but wrongly, in every case giving the reasons for non-insertion in the Kloosterlijst. The first version of the Kloosterlijst was introduced in 2008; since then, updates have been provided in 2010, 2012 and 2015. For the content the subsigned is responsible; the ICT-part of the job has been fulfilled by Ben Stuyvenberg. The Faculty of Humanities of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam hosts the website.
Recently, the first draft of the digital Kloosterkaart (Map of Monastic Life) was launched. This offers a GIS based topographical complement to the Kloosterlijst: All monasteries in the central database of the Kloosterlijst have been put on the map (as points with exact coordinates, not as surfaces). This digital map has been prepared by Lida Ruitinga and Peter Vos of UBVU (University Library of the Vrije Universiteit), and is hosted at Geoplaza, the UBVU site for digital maps: http://geoplaza.vu.nl/cms/maps/235-kloosterkaart. This first version gives the situation synchronically, as it was around the year 1500. A fuller version with a diachronic approach is in preparation. This will also contain the approximately seventy collegiate churches in the medieval northern Low Countries.
Unfortunately for the international readership, both the Kloosterlijst and the Kloosterkaart have been conceived in Dutch. But because much of the information either consists of names (topographical and otherwise) or is of an internationally recognizable monastic-technical nature, this may be a minor inconvenience.
Church Monuments Essay Prize: winner announced!
We have had an encouraging response to this year's Essay Prize competition, with nine authors expressing an interest and seven eventual entries. The truly international scope of the Society's reach was indicated by the fact that only two of these were from Britain, the rest being from the US, Australia, Germany, the Netherlands and Poland, with a colonial mausoleum in North Africa being among the subjects offered.
The panel was impressed by the scholarship of the majority of the entries, and have recommended several for publication, either in Church Monuments, or in other journals. However, there can only be one recipient of the prize, and so the 2016 Essay Prize is awarded to Trudi Brink for 'First-rate and second-hand: tombstones by Vincent Lucas in sixteenth-century Friesland (Netherlands),' which deals with the unusual late sixteenth-century Dutch phenomenon of signed tomb slabs. The winner receives a cash prize and the ultimate accolade of the publication of her article in a forthcoming volume of Church Monuments.
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This page was last updated on: March 11th, 2016
December 16th, 2016:
The seventeenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
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The sixteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
May 23rd, 2015:
The fifteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
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The thirteenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
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The eleventh issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.
September 12th, 2012:
The tenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available. This is a double issue so be sure to check out both Part One and Part Two.
March 6th, 2012:
The ninth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available! In this issue you will find many new book announcements and information on projects dedicated to digitising memorial registers.