The Board of Visitors is the governing body of the Virginia Military Institute. The Archives houses the complete Minutes of the Board, which help to provide a detailed history of the Institute from its first days in 1839 through the current era. The most recent decades of Board meeting minutes, along with an increasing number of historical minutes, are now available online. New documents are added regularly and users may now view the original manuscript pages for Civil War era and many other 19th century minutes.
The Board first met in May 1839, several months before VMI opened on November 11, in order to establish the rules governing the new Institute, hire a Superintendent (equal to President at other colleges) and to admit the first group of cadets.