William & Mary Athletics Facilities

May 11, 2017 to July 31, 2018
Basketball Game in Kaplan Arena, circa 1970s
Men's basketball game in Kaplan Arena, circa 1970s

Following a campus closure from 1881 to 1888 for financial reasons, William & Mary President Lyon G. Tyler made the construction of a gymnasium and other athletic facilities a priority in 1888, viewing the expansion of infrastructure as key to attracting students. After that time, all the university had to offer its fitness-minded students were a couple of athletic fields, which included the Palace Green as well as spaces on campus sometimes shared with farm animals.

This exhibit showcases William & Mary’s diverse athletic spaces and the use our athletes make of them. Selected photographs, artifacts, and publications from the University Archives illustrates this initial desire to promote "healthful and recreative physical activities," which over time developed into the modern, collegiate athletics program William & Mary knows today.


Curation, exhibit design, and installation: Khanh Vo, Special Collections Graduate Apprentice and PhD Candidate in American Studies, with assistance from Jennie Davy, Exhibits Manager.