William & Mary’s important collection of primary source materials includes everything from the personal papers of Thomas Jefferson to the largest collection of fish specimens on the East Coast. Those collections are a gold mine for a university dedicated to original research and independent inquiry.
The Swem Library’s Special Collections Research Center is aptly called the "jewel in the crown" of William & Mary. The collection contains over three million rare books, original manuscripts, personal papers from four American presidents and prominent Virginia families, sheet music, one-of-a-kind maps and archival photographs that offer first-person accounts of our nation’s history.
The Department of Anthropology houses an extensive collection of archeological treasures — important artifacts and skeletal remains — from W&M digs throughout the region and the world. And the Muscarelle Museum of Art is as much a research center as an artistic retreat, housing archives of seminal works of English and American portraiture as well as international ceramics and paintings of major significance.
The world-famous Fish Collection at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) houses beautifully preserved specimens of 128,000 freshwater and saltwater fish from Nova Scotia to North Carolina. But if fish aren’t your thing, try the self-guided tour of the Baldwin Memorial Collection of Woody Species on the W&M campus.