Skip to content

Interactive Campus History Project

An Interactive Campus History - 1746-1996

A Computer-based Interactive Graphics History

A complete World Wide Web Site is now available allowing Princetonians to search an entire architectural database on the campus, read the text on the Architectural History of Princeton and explore a handful of images saved from the live 3D software browser available on the Princeton Campus. Individuals associated with Princeton University may make an appointment to explore the full 3D system by phoning (609) 258-4597 during business hours. For copyright reasons the large format images may not be downloaded off the Princeton Campus at this time but this, too, should be available soon.

The Software Capability

A computer-based interactive graphics tour leads the viewer through the campus as it appeared at different times throughout the University's 250 years of history. It provides an architectural and cultural view of that history through a coordinated set of windows on the computer screen that displays a 3D model of the campus, an extensive collection of photographs from the university's archives, a variety of text documents and data on the buildings, people and events that make up this history. This document is intended to give a flavor of what has been and is being developed. It will be updated from time to time as new material becomes ready and new features are implemented. Stay Tuned!

A computer walk through the Princeton campus, allows the viewer to pick a route, select time in history, view the campus in 3D, walk around the buildings, and browse various information about specific buildings

Several specialized programs are written to run on the Silicon Graphics' Reality Engine workstations but a variety of other delivery mechanisms are also envisioned including Internet access (such as this), video, and CD-ROM.

Interactive Entry Points

The complete system allows electronic visitors to study Princeton's Architectural and Cultural History from a variety of vantage points.

The entire WWW Site is now available but there are here are also some demonstration pages of some of the system capabilities which will run faster if the database becomes overloaded.

Buildings and Photographs



Sophisticated Date Selection


3D Tours of the Historic Campus!

Computer Assisted Video Generations

From Virtual Reality to Ole Nassau (5 Mb Quicktime)

Sculpture on Campus

Search campus slides (live database interaction demonstration)

Building Data Sheets

Long Term Implications

This project came into being because many people involved with the 250th planning discovered that the concept of a computer based history for the university was but a special case of a larger academic need. Already in 1994 there were several projects on campus that involved the electronic integration of images and text for both classroom and research purposes. Indeed, two instructional projects had developed sophisticated online systems for delivering images and information to students. The most notable of these are the Piero Project and the Mappamundi Project. The Interactive Computer Graphics Laboratory, a component of Instructional Technology Services within Computing and Information Technology (CIT) took a leading role in the technical development of the above mentioned projects and coordinated the initial work on the Princeton Interactive Campus History. This work is is now being carried on under The Educational Technology Center (ETC) to help create a major new resource about Princeton but also, and more importantly, to develop the infrastructure at Princeton to undertake additional similar projects in the future.

Current Academic Impact

The design of this project is intended to create the infrastructure to build other new applications for the Princeton classroom. In general this involves increasing the sophistication with which we can integrate computer graphics, electronic texts, online data base material, and intelligent software user-interfaces. At present, the following accomplishments can already be listed:

Both the Piero Project and the Mappamundi Project. have already undergone some redesign based on the re-thinking being done for the 250th project. Note that the Mappamundi project now links glossary texts with its image display. You can run a Mappamundi Database Search yourself if you wish. Professor William Childs in the Department of Art and Archaeology has begun re-designing his archaeology database around the capabilities being designed for the 250th project including: Professor David Underwood will be teaching a course on 20th century architecture in the fall semester of 1996 that will use the software developed for this project live in the classroom. Professor John Pinto is preparing material for two courses that will build on the infrastructure created for this project. This work will take full advantage of the existing database and WWW interface designs as well as add a large scale map browsing capability.

Work is progressing with the Office of Physical Planning at Princeton to develop the 3D model so that it can be useful in the architectural and landscape planning of the campus and to connect it to further administrative and planning databases available on campus.

Other Princeton University 250th Anniversary Activities In 1996 Princeton University is celebrating its 250th Anniversary. For a description of general activities in preparation for the celebration refer to the text 250th Anniversary Plans and Commitments. The Campus Guide provides a brief introduction to Princeton University and to the town of Princeton . Additional information can be found in a Princeton Profile. The Alumni Council Site and its own 250th Anniversary Site are also available.