The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area (MSNHA), which operates under the University of North Alabama, was officially designated by Congress in 2009. The heritage area spans across six counties within the Tennessee River waterbasin of North Alabama and was developed to help preserve the history of this region.
MSNHA began to take form in 1993, following a visionary community event, "Muscle Shoals Reconsidered". During this conference, community leaders addressed the issue of how to create a relationship between the cultural aspects of the region and the area's quality of life. Following a second conference, "Muscle Shoals Reconsidered II", two committees were developed to further explore the issue and in 2000, a study of the cultural heritage of the Muscle Shoals Region was produced. This study identified opportunities for coalition building, established an inventory of assets, weighed the liabilities, and validated assumptions. The study also helped better define the themes, boundaries, and stories of the Muscle Shoals region. In 2001, Alabama Representative Robert "Bud" Cramer introduced legislation into the House of Representatives, directing the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of establishing the MSNHA. The legislation was signed into law in 2002 and the designation was approved in 2009.
About National Heritage Areas
The National Heritage Area (NHA) program, established by the Department of Interior and the National Park Service, recognizes regions throughout the US that have significant historical, cultural, or natural features that help tell a national story of the country's evolution. National heritage areas are designated by Congress and must meet strict requirements. For more information about national heritage areas, visit the (http://www.nps.gov/history/heritageareas/) National Heritage Areas website.