Barnard and Columbia students have brought a new virtual life to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s great eighteenth-century period rooms. Through the students’ digital projects, we can more clearly see how the rooms and the objects in them express the Enlightenment values of which we are the heirs.

“A Virtual Enlightenment” is made possible by a grant from the Mellon Foundation to create experimental college courses that work with real local resources to create online public knowledge.

With the guidance of Met curators Daniëlle Kisluk-Grosheide and Jeffrey Munger, and Art History professor Anne Higonnet, students designed visual projects that could never be actually executed. Among other projects, they put servants back into the rooms they maintained, showed how some desks were masculine and others feminine, restored an altered room to its original size, lit a room by fire and candlelight, and animated the story of Queen Marie-Antoinette’s Japanese lacquer.

For more information, visit the Project Overview.

Spring 2015

Materials and Their Makers


Snuff Boxes

Fall 2016

Digital Métiers

Original Use and Space

A Room and the World

The Process of Porcelain

A Lacquer Connection