Discover the Thorne Miniature Rooms in a browser

Imagine this: Every time you open a new tab in Chrome, a beautiful piece of art greets you.

The Art Institute of Chicago has created a Google Chrome extension called Art Tab. This neat little tool surprises you with a random artwork from their vast collection each time you open a new tab. It’s somewhat similar to the Google Arts & Culture extension, but there’s a slight difference. The Art Institute’s images don’t fill up your whole browser window like Google’s does.

Being a fan of full-screen art, I tweaked the code from the Art Institute’s extension so that the artwork now fills the entire browser window. I love the result.

I also customized the Art Institute’s Chrome Add-on to show artwork only from the Thorne miniature rooms. So far, my favorite is “E-17: French Bedroom.” It’s o’er-the-op paisley decorations everywhere.

Another fun room-in-a-browser is A31: Tennessee Entrance Hall, 1835.

The elegant spiral staircase seems to ascend right up to the very top of your screen, inviting you to ponder what could lie beyond in the unseen upper chamber of your browser. Could there be a secret attic filled with more digital treasures just waiting to be discovered?

There are 68 different rooms to explore. Here are a couple more of my favorites that popped up in my browser.


“A32- Louisiana Bedroom, 1800-50” by Narcissa Niblack Thorne

Maybe it’s the bright light that is appealing.


“E-22- French Provincial Bedroom of the Louis XV Period, 18th Century”

I like how the bed is inserted into the wall. Close the curtains and sleep in a tiny little room. The cross is a nice touch as well.


“E-11- English Entrance Hall of the Georgian Period, c. 1775

I like this room, because it reminds me of my recent visit to the Art Institute of Chicago when I photographed my Ewok in front of some of the rooms.


I haven’t seen any of the Japanese or Chinese rooms show up in my browser yet.

If you’re curious about my full-screen version of ArtTab, feel free to reach out. (And don’t worry about running a modified version of their extension. They welcome modifications to their add-on.)

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