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The Virtual World Collection documents the evolution of “spatial hypermedia” from the earliest attempts to use computers to represent “place” through modern “virtual worlds” and game engines. This also encompasses documentation about the history and theory of “cyberspace” as well as functioning examples of software that still runs and demos of worlds that are no longer available. The collection contains over a hundred linear feet of books, articles and software, but it has not been fully inventoried yet so this is just a small fraction of what’s in the collection.

MUCH more will be added later!

Early Children’s Worlds

Broderbund/The Learning Company

Logo Computing Systems Inc. (LCSI)

Early Game Worlds


MIT’s AthenaMuse and applications for virtual travel.1

Modern Game Worlds

The collection has a significant amount of information about the history behind the development of Massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) and Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPGs).

Virtual Worlds

The collection includes documentation, and when possible, functioning installs for over 20 virtual worlds including Project Wonderland, Active Worlds, SecondLife and recent worlds for VR (Sansar, High Fidelity etc.).2

Game Engines

Functioning installs and documentation for Unity and Unreal.


These are some of the most relevant books in the collection. More…

Non-Fiction Books

Fiction, Books

Fiction, Movies

Collection Notes
1 AthenaMuse was a SDK created at MIT by Project Athena’s Visual Computing Group (VCG). It was intended to be the multimedia extensions to X-Windows, but it was never formally propagated through the X-Consortium. However, the software was shared with members of the consortium that contributed to the project (e.g. Sun Microsystems, multiple government agencies etc.). Hopper studied both the functionalities of AthenaMuse and the educational applications that were made with it during her doctoral work that, among other things, included original oral interviews with the team that made the AthenaMuse software and the faculty / scientists / staff that used it to create MIT courseware (primarily the Engineering Geology Tutor and multiple Foreign Language virtual travel applications). Later on, after Hopper became a Visiting Scientist at MIT’s Center for Educational Computing Initiatives (CECI), she edited the final edition of the AthenaMuse 2 software. She reviewed and revised the code for consistency and then corrected the documentation to match. Due to Mary Hopper’s relationship to AthenaMuse’s authors and users, the New Media Museum holds extensive documentation about AtheanMuse 1 & 2 as well as the applications created with the software.

Hopper, M.E. (2013, October). Wisdom from Athena: A paradigm for precognition [Presentation]. Society of History of Technology. SIGCIS Workshop: Recomputing the History of Information Technology, Portland, ME.
Hopper, M. E. (Ed.) (1996). AthenaMuse 2.2 Documentation [Manual]. Cambridge, MA: Center for Educational Computing Initiatives, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Hopper, M. E. (1993). Educational courseware production in advanced computing environments [Dissertation]. Lafayette, IN: School of Education, Purdue University.

2 Hopper, M. E. (2009, April). Cosma: Constructing a Kingdom of Knowledge [Presentation]. Media in Transition 6 Conference: Stone and Papyrus, Storage and Transmission, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
Hopper, M. E. (2008, December). Using Virtual Worlds for Computer Science Education and Research [Presentation]. Computer Science Seminar, University of Massachusetts, Boston, MA.
Hopper, M. E. (2008, May). Ok, now what? Ideas from Havok to the Holodeck [Presentation]. Sloan-C International Symposium, Emerging Technology Applications for Online Learning, Carefree, AZ.
Hopper, M. E. (2008, April). SecondLife: Powerful Places for Teaching and Learning. UMass IT Conference: The Scholarship of Teaching & Learning, Making “IT” Matter, Boxborough, MA.
Hopper, M. E. (2007, April). The Knowledge Gates to SecondLife [Presentation]. Media in Transition 5 Conference: Creativity, Ownership and Collaboration in the Digital Age, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.

Mary Hopper has authored large and well known sites in SecondLife for over a decade, and at one point owned a significant and visible section of Linden Village (Knowledge Places/Cosma). As of early 2020, she still does hold a few large parcels that are well known public spaces. In addition, Hopper has both taught about virtual worlds and managed sites for educational institutions in the Boston area. Finally, she has made public presentations about virtual worlds. The collateral damage from all of this is an extensive body of documentation about developing 3D spaces in virtual worlds as well as published and unpublished documentation about the history of their creation. All of this is part of the New Media Museum’s collections.

© New Media Museum created by M. E. Hopper