James Blair Hall, established in 1935, is home to the Departments of History and Philosophy. Blair Hall was named after the first president of William & Mary, the Reverend James Blair. Officially called the Lyon G. Tyler Department of History, after the university’s seventeenth President, history majors can study history from across the world. This department offers students many opportunities beyond W&M’s campus and has partnerships with the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, and the Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown-Yorktown Foundations. The National Institute of American History and Democracy (NIAHD) offers a pre-collegiate and collegiate study program that allows students to intern in Colonial Williamsburg as a reenactor. Feel free to stroll inside the lobby of Blair Hall!
If you stand facing Blair Hall, you will see the Tyler Family Garden on the left side of the building. Dedicated to the over thirty members of the Tyler family who have attended William & Mary, the garden has a little-known secret. Try standing in the exact center of the garden (at the center of where the bricks form a cross), with your back facing the statues of three of the Tyler family’s most distinguished members. As you stand facing the James Blair Hall, talk to the wall and see what happens.