About Us

A museum interpreter waits to talk with students at Jamestown.

The National Institute of American History & Democracy (NIAHD) began in academic year 2001-2002 as a partnership between William & Mary and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The initial start-up grant came from two Congressional awards.  NIAHD uses an interdisciplinary approach to teach students about American history, material culture, and public history.

Since 2002, more than 1,800 students have attended The Pre-College Program in Early American History. Pre-College students come from across the United States, Europe, South America, the Caribbean, and Asia to learn about history where it happened. Students earn 4 hours of college credit for their work in the 3 week course. The program is open to rising juniors and seniors in high school as well as rising college freshmen.

The The Williamsburg Collegiate Program in Early American History, Material Culture, and Public History began in 2002-2003. W&M students may enroll at any time during their undergraduate or graduate studies. Students earn the NIAHD certificate in American History, Material Culture, and Public History when they complete a course in Public History, an Internship, a Field School, and 4 additional classes that focus on aspects of American History. More than 200 students have participated in this program and gained hands-on experience that prepared them for careers in education, museums, or other areas of public history.

The Williamsburg Semester-in-Residence Program began in 2005-2006. This program brings undergraduates and post graduates from other colleges and universities to study for one semester at W&M. NIAHD's visiting students enroll in classes offered as part of the Collegiate Program.