Behind the Project

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

Madeleine Ward-Schultz

Madeleine is a senior art history major at Skidmore College whose interests lie in 18th and 19th century decorative arts engaging with overarching themes of intersectionality as well as challenging Orientalism and Colonialism. Throughout her time at Skidmore, she has also been involved with the English, Asian Studies, Gender Studies, and History Departments as well as the Tang Teaching Museum that have contributed to expanding further fascinating topics of inquiry. Madeleine grew up in Chicago visiting the Art Institute (and the Miniature Thorne Rooms) frequently—so much so that the AIC is like a second home. Because of art objects like the Thorne rooms and period rooms, she aspires to be a museum curator.

This website is her honors project.



This project would not have developed without the help and support of the following people. Thank you <3

To Ellenor Alcorn and Kate Hublou-Heller at the Art Institute of Chicago for speaking with me and answering my numerous questions.

To Ben Hardwood at Skidmore College LEDs office for coaching me in website and interactive game program development.

To my honors project peers for their feedback.

To my childhood friend Phoebe Lincoln for taking pictures around the gallery with me.


Rooms and Mrs. Thorne:

Finnane, Antonia. “Chinese Domestic Interiors and ‘Consumer Constraint’ in Qing China: Evidence from Yangzhou.” Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 57, no. 1 (2014): 112–44.

Handbook to the European rooms in miniature (1943):

Kalmbach, Sally Sexton. Mrs. Thorne’s World of Miniatures. Chicago: Ampersand, Inc., 2014.

Knapp, Ronald. G. China’s Vernacular Architecture: House, Form, and Culture. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1989.

Lirong, Guo. “The Transformation of Contemporary Chinese Interior Design.” In Contemporary Chinese visual culture : tradition, modernity, and Globalization, edited by Christopher Crouch, 239-256. Amherst, New York: Cambria Press, 2010.

Miniature Rooms: The Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago (2005).

Steinhardt, Nancy Shatzman. “Introduction.” In Chinese Imperial City Planning, 1-18. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawai’i Press, 1999.

Steinhardt, Nancy Shatzman. “Why Were Chang’an and Beijing so Different?” Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 45, no. 4 (1986): 339–57.


Bergfelder, Tim, Sue Harris, and Sarah Street. “European Set Design in the 1920s and 1930s: Cultural Contexts and Professional Practices.” In Film Architecture and the Transnational Imagination: Set Design in 1930s European Cinema, 31–108. Amsterdam University Press, 2007.

Cross, Gary. “Dilemmas of Heritage in an Era of Consumed Nostalgia,” in Consumed Nostalgia : Memory in the Age of Fast Capitalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015), 173-201,

Cross, Gary. “Introduction: Our Nostalgic Novelty Culture,” in Consumed Nostalgia : Memory in the Age of Fast Capitalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015), 1-23,

Kurlinkus, William C. “Why Nostalgia?: Why Here? Why Now?” In Nostalgic Design: Rhetoric, Memory, and Democratizing Technology, 3–14. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018.

Mills, Ralph. “Material Culture in Miniature: The Historical Archaeology of Nineteenth-Century Miniature Objects.” In The Importance of British Material Culture to Historical Archaeologies of the Nineteenth Century, ed. By Alasdair Brooks, 243-273. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

Pearce, Susan. On Collecting: An Investigation into Collecting in the European Tradition. Oxfordshire: Routledge, 1995.

Stewart, Susan. “The Miniature.” In On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection. Durham: Duke University Press, 1999.


 Photo credits: Phoebe Nakry Lincoln.