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DS 422: History of Architecture & Interiors II: 19th and 20th Centuries (Spring 2024) : Starting Your Research

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Anna Simon
Kohler Art Library
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Starting Your Period Room Research

1. Pick your period and identify its chronology, or period of time. What are the themes of the this period, writ large?

2. Consider what features of this style you are most interested in exploring in your paper (historical context, new materials or design choices, ideology, function, changing ideas about gender and the family, etc.).

3. Begin your research by looking over introductory background sources, such as design encyclopedias or websites of museums with strong design departments. Move onto searching for material in the Library Catalog using keywords. 

Examples of search terms might include:

bauhaus AND design

american furniture AND design

japonisme AND interior

Pull lots of sources and look at the bibliographies of helpful material. Remember you can request items from off-campus.

4. Explore this research guide and its suggested sources!

5. As you design your room, create a mental list of questions to “ask” your design elements, as if you were analyzing each design choice. The answers to these questions will give you more clues about how the style developed and for what purposes.

Questions might include:


  • "What materials are being used? Why? How is this significant?”
  •  “Is there a typical socio-economic group that would have used this room, or aspired to use it?
  •  “How do the furnishings compare to other time periods?”
  •  “What does the the style suggest about the culture that produced it?"