This complex of historic buildings in the middle of the French Quarter is secreted away with little fanfare. But it’s a true treasure and an excellent look at what once was. The main galleries at the recently expanded Royal Street campus are chock full of wonderful artworks, maps, and historic documents. There are docent tours of the galleries, the multiple buildings in this compound (one a rare survivor of the great fire of 1794), and the elegant former residence of General and Mrs. Williams. It’s all of great relevance to anyone interested in architecture or local history—each building has a centuries-old tale to tell. Around the corner, the Williams Research Center, 410 Chartres St. (tel. 504/598-7171), is a grandly restored, Beaux Arts–style building also belonging to the complex. It serves as a research center for academics and the public. If you’re curious about anything regarding New Orleans or Louisiana history, the answer is probably here.