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 the American past, material culture and museums. 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 of 2001 and hosted its Pre-Collegiate Summer Program in Early American History for the 15th summer in 2016. More than 1,600 high school students from across the nation and abroad have attended the W&M Pre-College Summer Program and another 250 have enrolled in NIAHD’s collegiate programs either as William and Mary undergraduates or visiting students from other colleges and universities.