Rooms with some Views

The Chinese Traditional room in the Art Institute of Chicago’s Thorne Miniature Rooms exhibition presents complex aspects of Asian-ness on display. This project aims to contextualize the room within time, space, and wonder that surrounded its original reception.


The Thorne Miniature Rooms exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago display 68 rooms decorated in popular styles throughout history across numerous countries and cultures. Most feature luxurious, elite European and American spaces, though two rooms demonstrate Asian interior design styles. Upon their installation and initial showing in the 1950s, they were a huge success and remain one of the Art Institute and Chicago’s proud attractions.


Click on the three following subjects to explore the miniature Chinese Traditional room’s background further!


The Chinese Traditional room was first exhibited in the late 1930s during a tumultuous time for many. Let’s find out what that landscape looked like.

Theoretical Lenses

Let’s take a deeper look at the Chinese Traditional room’s thematic perspectives that draw us closer.


Art history is all about interactive learning. Discover more about the Art Institute’s Chinese Traditional room and fellow enthusiasts’ thoughts.

Behind the Project

Let me introduce myself and the amazing resources* that made this project possible!


*All photos of the Chinese Traditional room were taken by Phoebe Nakry Lincoln