We present exploratory research of virtual reality techniques and mnemonic devices to assist in retrieving knowledge from scholarly articles. We used abstracts of scientific publications to represent knowledge in scholarly articles; participants were asked to read, remember, and retrieve knowledge from a set of abstracts. We conducted an experiment to compare participants’ recall and recognition performance in three different conditions: a control condition without a pre-specified strategy to test baseline individual memory ability, a condition using an image-based variant of a mnemonic called a “memory palace,” and a condition using a virtual reality-based variant of a memory palace. Our analyses show that using a virtual reality-based memory palace variant greatly increased the amount of knowledge retrieved and retained over the baseline, and it shows a moderate improvement over the other image-based memory palace variant. Anecdotal feedback from participants suggested that personalizing a memory palace variant would be appreciated. Our results support the value of virtual reality for some high-level cognitive tasks and help improve future applications of virtual reality and visualization.