This complex of historic buildings in the middle of the French Quarter is secreted away with little signage or fanfare. But a hidden treasure lies within. All were owned by the collection’s founders, General and Mrs. L. Kemper Williams, and remain an excellent look at what once was. One building is a rare survivor of the great fire of 1794. Behind a courtyard lies the elegant former residence of General and Mrs. Williams, open for tours. There are galleries with wonderful artworks, maps, and historic documents, and tours that focus on landscaping, architecture, and Mardi Gras (during Carnival season). It’s all of great relevance to anyone interested in architecture or local history, and each building has a centuries-old tale to tell. Another grandly restored, Beaux-Arts–style building belonging to the complex is the Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres St., near Conti Street (tel. 504/598-7171), which houses many of the collection’s items. It presents rotating exhibits and serves as a research center for academics and members of the public who can access research documents with librarian assistance: If you’re curious about anything regarding New Orleans or Louisiana history, the answer is probably here.