National Institute of American History & Democracy

The National Institute of American History and Democracy (NIAHD) is a partnership between the College of William and Mary and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. It is dedicated to the study of American History, Public History, Material Culture, and Museum Studies. The Institute sponsors programs for William and Mary students, students from other colleges and universities, and high school students.  

Students take NIAHD classes in colonial and early nineteenth century American history and public history. They can choose to study colonial Virgina history, the era of the American Revolution, the new nation, and the struggles of the Civil War.  They can study ways in which museums and historic sites present public history as well as museum operations. They can examine interpretions and uses of material culture in the study of history. They may also take museum internships and get first hand experience working in varied areas of museums--with the public or behind the scenes.

Students take NIAHD programs as part of their preparation for careers in teaching, museums, and other aspects of history and public history.    



NIAHD began in Fall 2001 and is celebrating its 15th Anniversary this year!  More than 1,600 college and high school students have participated in the following NIAHD programs during the past decade and a half!    


Summer Program for High School Students:

 The Pre-College Summer Program in Early American History offers high school juniors and seniors a three-week academic history course with  college credit at the College of William and Mary.  Courses are taught "on site" at the abundant  museums and historic places in eastern Virginia. 


Programs for William and Mary Students: 


Programs for Students from Other Colleges and Universities:  
  • The Semester-in-Residence Program is a four-course program which gives students from other colleges and universities the opportunity to study early America for a Fall or a Spring semester at the College of William and Mary. Students take courses taught "on site" at many historic places, including Colonial Williamsburg.

  • The Year-long Collegiate Program invites students from other colleges and universities to participate in The Collegiate Program in Early American History, Material Culture, and Museum Studies along with William and Mary students (see above) for an academic year.