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VMs: "The VMs Research Foundation"...?

Hi everyone,

I've been giving some thought to forming a charitable organisation whose central aim is to improve our understanding of the VMs by sponsoring targeted research and publishing the results openly.

What I have particularly in mind is a combination of close physical examination and rigorous analysis, which would best be performed by sponsored post-grads (who get to co-author the resulting paper), typically from Yale. The results of all stages would be made available (hosted at the Beinecke or elsewhere), so that all the final analysis can be replicated and checked. Some key examples:-

(1-a) A careful study of the original binding needle-holes (and perhaps corner markings?)
(1-b) Carefully inferring the probable original binding order

(2-a) A spectroscopic study of the different inks and paints used in the VMs
(2-b) Carefully inferring the probable different layers (and their ordering sequence)

(3-a) A microscopic examination of the VMs' vellum (for embedded pollens, etc)
(3-b) Carefully inferring the vellum's composition, production & perhaps locale

(4-a) Scanning all the VMs photographs held at the Beinecke
(4-b) Comparing with the VMs to see if there are any photos of the lost pages etc

(5-a) Scanning all WMV's papers at the Grolier Club (and elsewhere?)
(5-b) Identifying routes by which the few pages of the VMs might have gone missing

...and so forth (you can probably think of plenty more additions to the list).

In addition, the charity might also sensibly back a VMs conference, to be held (say) either at the Beinecke (the VMs' physical home) or at the Warburg Institute (probably the VMs' spiritual home).

Does anyone here with experience of forming or running a charity have any helpful suggestions? For example, are there particular advantages over forming it in the US, in England, or elsewhere? There is plenty of good, clear information on the UK Charity Commission website:-
From that, it would seem that the particular charitable purpose of what I'm reaching towards above is the "advancement of education", which Sections 30-31 define as:-

	30. The advancement of education is not limited to formal education
	at schools, colleges or universities. It can also include:

		* playgroups;
		* organisations providing work-related training (for example,
		   nursing or engineering); and
		* research institutions.

	31. Education in the charitable sense cannot include propagandist
	or political activities nor the study of subjects which have no
	educational value. If research is being done, it needs to be carried
	out in an objective and impartial way and the useful results must
	be made available, or accessible, to the public.

A working title for the charity could simply be "The Voynich Manuscript Research Foundation", a kind of 'virtual research institution'. Comments?

Cheers, .....Nick Pelling.....

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