The Washington and Lee University Special Collections & Archives Department collects, preserves, and makes accessible materials supporting the diverse teaching and research needs of our students, faculty, staff, and the greater community. This site houses the digital exhibits curated by our students, staff, faculty, and community members. We have sorted the exhibits into two categories, Institutional History and Local History, to distinguish between to the major areas of our collection: archival records from the history of Washington and Lee University and unique and rare materials that tell the history of Lexington, Rockbridge County, and beyond.

This collection of digital exhibits is a work in progress. Please contact Mackenzie Brooks or Paula Kiser if you encounter any technical errors. Contact the Special Collections staff with questions about the materials and items contained within these exhibits.

For descriptive information about the holdings of Special Collections and Archives, view our Finding Aids.

For digital collections of archival material and current scholarship, visit the Digital Archive.

Featured Exhibits

  • On These Grounds: Documenting Slavery at W&L

    On These Grounds: Documenting Slavery at W&L is a collaborative project to share the history of slavery at W&L through archival sources and an event-based data set. This website contains a preview of the data created by the W&L University Library and Institutional History departments.
  • University Chapel

    Based on a proposal by President Robert E. Lee to the Board of Trustees, the University Chapel was built between 1866 and 1868. The building has been renovated and re-designed several times between 1870 and 2021. This exhibit takes the visitor on a tour of the first floor of the auditorium and the 1883 addition, reviewing the changing appearance of the chapel's floor plan and stage.
  • The Black Experience @ W&L

    A digital exhibit created to help remember about the black experience at Washington and Lee University and, more largely, in United States history through African-American poetry and archival materials.
  • The Black General

    The Black General is a digital exhibit featured archival material and oral histories on the period of desegregation at W&L, the history of black student organizations, and other relevant material on the Black experience at W&L sourced from alumni, faculty, staff and Special Collections.