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News & Updates

March 24, 2017

Best Bets--Songwriting Women of the Shoals

Source: TimesDaily, Florence

Songwriting Women of the Shoals — Local artists Stephanie C. Brown, Angela Hacker and Rachel Wammack will perform at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Visitors Center Gallery at Florence/Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, 200 Jim Spain Drive, McFarland Park, Florence. Hosted by Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, the performers will conduct interview sessions. The event is free.<o :p />


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March 22, 2017

Grants available for Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area

Source: TimesDaily, Florence

FLORENCE -- The deadline for Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area community grants of up to $10,000 is 5 p.m. April 3.<o :p />

Grants awards range from $1,000 to $10,000 in Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone and Morgran counties for projects that focus on assessment, preservation activities, interpretation, archiving or training sessions related to music, Native American culture, or the Tennessee River.


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Feb. 2, 2017

Grants help Jackson House restoration stay on track

Source: Moulton Advertiser

The restoration of the historic Jackson House in Moulton continues, with much of the interior work completed.

The most recently completed project was replacing the floor in the kitchen and serving area just outside the kitchen.

The work was paid for by a $2,500 matching grant from the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, which has given the Jackson House Foundation two grants in the past two years.


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Feb. 2, 2017

Alabama Folklife Association taps Cooper for board of directors

Source: TimesDaily

Shoals music historian Dick Cooper has been named to the Alabama Folklife Association's board of directors.<o :p />

Cooper has been a photojournalist, writer and, most recently, curator at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, a position he left in January, 2016.<o :p />

"The AFA is dedicated to our state’s traditional arts, expressions of our cultural heritage that have been passed down through generations within a family, community, cultural group and region," said Folklife Executive Director Mary Allison Haynie. "Dick Cooper’s extensive knowledge and experience documenting, promoting, presenting and producing our state’s musical heritage makes him uniquely qualified to contribute to the AFA’s initiatives that are dedicated to the master artists and genres that fall within the scope of our mission."<o :p />

Haynie said Cooper’s experience will contribute to AFA’s production of exhibits, recordings and documentaries and publications such as journals, books and programs.<o :p />

The AFA is looking forward to restoring its connections to the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area to ensure that it has representation from that region of the state, she added.<o :p />


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Feb. 1, 2017

National Heritage grants applications now available

Source: TimesDaily

The deadline to apply for the next round of Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area community grants is April 3.

The grant amount maximum has increased this year to $10,000.

Grants range from $1,000 to $10,000 and are available for heritage-focused project in MSNHA's counties of Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan.


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Jan. 30, 2017

MSNHA grant workshop is Feb. 23

Source: TimesDaily

FLORENCE -- Anyone looking to preserve or restore historical material in northwest Alabama has a potential source of money to perform the work.

The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area will be awarding grants later this year to assist with historical projects that relate to the six-county region. A workshop to help navigate the application process is planned for Feb. 23 at the University of North Alabama.

Grants ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 are available.


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April 21, 2016

Historic Tuscumbia church receives grant

Source: Quad-Cities Daily

TUSCUMBIA-St. John’s Episcopal Church, in Tuscumbia, and the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area have won a grant to work with the national nonprofit Partners for Sacred Places to help activate this historic building as a vital community resource.
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Dec. 27, 2016

St. John's report features historical, cultural assests

Source: TimesDaily

TUSCUMBIA — The nonprofit group that studied potential uses for St. John's Episcopal Church states the church's history, character and downtown setting bring potential for various purposes.

The report mentions the church as an ideal spot for weddings and other gatherings, as well as small to mid-size musical performances.

With the final report completed this month, officials who oversee the historic Dickson Street church plan to evaluate the long list of suggestions and assets in the study.


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March 4, 2016

MSNHA hosts grant writing workshop

Source: QuadCitiesDaily.com

The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area will host a workshop, 1:30-4 p.m., Tuesday, March 22, in the Guillot University Center Loft on the campus of the University of North Alabama for those interested in applying for a MSNHA community grant.
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June 24, 2015

Roots of American Music Trail offers local history

Source: Flor-Ala

Not only will you find the beautiful campus of the University of North Alabama in the northwest corner of Alabama, but also a rich and diverse musical heritage.

Legend says the Tennessee River was once called “the singing river” by the Yuchie Tribe because the rapids in the river sounded like a woman singing, according to the Roots of American Music Trail website.


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May 21, 2015

Historical marker honors "Father of the Blues" in Florence

Source: www.waff.com

FLORENCE, AL (WAFF) -

The Mississippi Blues Trail has expanded into northwest Alabama, celebrating the "Father of the Blues", W.C. Handy. 

Handy's grandson, Dr. Carlos Handy, spent Thursday afternoon in Florence for the unveiling of the new historical marker outside W.C. Handy's birthplace. Handy was born in Florence in 1873. Every year the city honors his legacy through a 10 day music festival known as "HandyFest."


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May 20, 2015

Handy Home to be recognized on Mississippi Blues Trail

Source: TimesDaily, Florence, Alabama

The Mississippi Blues Trail will celebrate the legacy of W.C. Handy, the “Father of the Blues,” by placing a historical marker at Handy’s birthplace at 2 p.m. Thursday.

“We’re at the beginning of the trail, where it all started with Mr. Handy,” said Barbara Broach, Florence’s director of arts and museums.

Broach said she expects the attraction’s inclusion on the Mississippi Blues Trail will bring more people to the home and museum.


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May 19, 2015

Trail marker to honor Father of the Blues

Source: wtva.com

FLORENCE, Ala. (WTVA) -- The "Father of the Blues" will be honored with a historic marker at the home where he was born.

The Mississippi Blues Trail will dedicate the marker at the home of W. C. Handy on College Street in Florence, Alabama Thursday at 2 p.m

Handy was born in 1873 in a log cabin at the location that now houses a museum to his life and music.
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May 19, 2015

Handy Home to be recognized on Mississippi Blues Trail

Source: TimesDaily, Florence, Alabama

Florence's director of Arts and Museums said a new marker at the W.C. Handy Home and Museum should increase attendance at the popular landmark.

The unique part is, the marker is for the Mississippi Blues Trail.


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May 19, 2015

Alabama town to receive Mississippi Blues Trail marker for W.C. Handy

Source: gulflive.com

FLORENCE, Alabama -- The Mississippi Blues Trail will celebrate the legacy of W.C. Handy, the "father of the blues," by placing a historical marker at Handy's birthplace in Florence, Ala. 

The marker will go up at 620 West College St. at 2 p.m. on May 21.

Handy's extensive contributions have also been commemorated on blues trail markers in Tutwiler, Clarksdale and Cleveland, Miss., where Handy made key discoveries about the blues in the early 20th century.


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March 19, 2015

Grants program open

Source: Quad-Cities Daily

The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area has opened its newly created community grants that awards up to $2,500 for historic preservation and archival projects in its six counties: Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan.
Applications will be accepted four times a year — once every fiscal-year quarter, said MSNHA director Judy Sizemore. Deadlines for applications to be submitted are April 1, July 1, Oct. 1 and Jan. 1. Applications and instructions on how to apply are on MSNHA’s website, msnha.una.edu.

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Nov. 30, 2014

Heritage plan OKd

Source: TimesDaily, Florence

Now that the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area's management plan has been approved, making the plan work for its six-county region is at the top of the agenda.

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Nov. 14, 2014

Events to recall Confederate entry into Alabama city

Source: News Courier, Athens, Alabama

 A concert will take place in the Guillot University Center on the campus of the University of North Alabama. Nancy Sanford, director of the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library, said a concert by Gen. John Hood's army band was staged on this night 150 years ago on the lawn of the Courtview mansion, which now is Rogers Hall on the university campus. The performance will be by Olde Towne Brass, a Huntsville band that specializes in Civil War-era music, she said. The concert is free, and is co-sponsored by the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area.

On Saturday, library staff will offer two guided walking tours of downtown Florence that focus on places where wartime events took place and where people of that time lived and worked.

"We started this last year as part of the Civil War sesquicentennial," Clint Alley, of the library's digital archive and local history staff, said. "We had such a positive response from the community that we decided to keep doing it."


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Nov. 14, 2014

A look back at the Civil War

Source: TimesDaily

A concert will take place in the Guillot University Center on the campus of the University of North Alabama. Nancy Sanford, director of the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library, said a concert by Hood’s army band was staged on this night 150 years ago on the lawn of the Courtview mansion, which now is Rogers Hall on the university campus. The performance will be by Olde Towne Brass, a Huntsville band that specializes in Civil War-era music, she said. The concert is free, and is co-sponsored by the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area.

On Saturday, library staff will offer two guided walking tours of downtown Florence that focus on places where wartime events took place and where people of that time lived and worked. The first tour begins at 10:30 a.m., and the second at 1:30 p.m. The cost is $10 for adults, and $5 for children under age 12.


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Oct. 30, 2014

UNA will host Civil War forum

Source: TimesDaily

The Civil War, with its military glory and civilian devastation, will be discussed Saturday on the campus of the University of North Alabama.

The UNA History Department and the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area are hosting the conference, which begins at 9 a.m. and concludes at 3 p.m. at the Guillot Student Center. The $15 general admission fee includes lunch and a guest speaker. The fee for students is $10.

“This is a way we can encourage academic research by students and faculty on a certain subject, and we would love for the public to come in and hear it,” said Judy Sizemore, director of the Heritage Area.

The Heritage Area is working with the university, Northwest-Shoals Community College and UNA’s Public History Department to stage the event.


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Sept. 26, 2014

Heritage Area plan approved

Source: TimesDaily

After three years of research, community meetings and hard work, the management plan for the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area has finally been completed.

The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved the plan, which means the MSNHA can receive more federal funds for local interpretive projects, Director Judy Sizemore said.


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Sept. 23, 2014

MSNHA management plan approved

Source: Quad-Cities Daily

The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area’s management plan, which means that MSNHA can receive more federal funds for local interpretive projects, said director Judy Sizemore.

“This is the first major milestone in MSNHA’s path toward sustainability,” she added.


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Sept. 22, 2014

MSNHA hosts Roots of American Music Trail luncheon

Source: Quad-Cities Daily

The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area hosted a luncheon to thank local musicians and others who helped support the Roots of American Music Trail.

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Sept. 1, 2014

Mississippi Blues Trail reaches out to Handy

Source: Times-Daily

The Mississippi Blues Trail is leaving the confines of the Magnolia state and winding into northwest Alabama. One of the iconic trail markers will be placed at the birthplace of the Father of the Blues, W.C. Handy, in Florence.


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Aug. 27, 2014

National Heritage Areas — 30 years telling America’s stories

Source: Quad-Cities Daily

The country’s first National Heritage Area — the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor — turned 30 on August 24 and is celebrating the success of a program that promotes and protects America’s significant cultural sites.

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April 19, 2014

Signs to guide visitors to Shoals' music heritage

Source: TimesDaily

Signs soon will point toward the musical heritage the area is known for world wide.

Judy Sizemore, director of Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, revealed plans to place at least 10 signs in Muscle Shoals and others throughout the area pointing visitors, and locals, to the sites important to the Shoals' musical heritage.


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December, 2013

This Month’s Featured National Heritage Area: World-Class Music and History at Muscle Shoals

Source: Park Advocate, publication of the National Parks Conservation Association

A look at the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area for the NPCA's national membership and others.

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December 2013

World-Class Music and History at Muscle Shoals

Source: Park Advocate

Nestled in the northwest corner of Alabama, the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area (MNSHA)  consists of the six northwest Alabama counties—Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, and Morgan—that border the meandering Tennessee River. World-class fishing lakes and challenging golf courses combined with a thriving music industry and a fascinating local history attract thousands of visitors to the region every year.
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Sept. 11, 2013

Interpretation is key to museum

Source: TimesDaily

There are plenty of ideas to be considered during the design of a new Indian Mound museum, but the most important design element may be the one that is least expensive: interpretation.
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Aug. 30, 2013

Comments sought on Heritage Area's proposed plan

Source: TimesDaily

The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area’s proposed management plan is now online for public comment.

The 750-page document provides detailed information on how the Heritage Area, which is administered under the auspices of the National Park Service, will be operated.


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Aug. 19, 2013

Shoals National Heritage Area accepting comments

Source: TimesDaily

Comments concerning the management plan created to govern the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area are being accepted from the public on the National Park Service’s website until Oct. 3.

The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, one of 49 in the nation, preserves and promotes the history and culture of a six-county region in northwest Alabama, including the Shoals.


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July 2013

Comments sought on Heritage Area’s proposed plan

Source: TimesDaily

The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area’s proposed management plan is now online for public comment.

The 750-page document provides detailed information on how the Heritage Area, which is administered under the auspices of the National Park Service, will be operated.



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May 2013

History, music &the river: NHA directors visit northwest Alabama

Source: Alabama Tourism

From Wilson Pickett to Chickasaw Indian Chief Tuscumbia, from cotton fields to the Tennessee River, National Heritage Area directors explored the history and culture of northwest Alabama during recent meetings hosted by the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area.



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May 2013

Heritage area management plan unveiled

Source: TimesDaily

A draft management plan for the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area was unveiled Monday night and is expected to be put into action this fall.

Once operational, the heritage area will help promote and preserve the cultural heritage of northwest Alabama, and work with tourism offices in six counties to attract visitors to the region.


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Spring 2013

Muscle Shoals NHA offers passport stamps

Source: National Heritage Areas Newsletter

MSNHA establishes seven Passport to Your National Parks cancellation sites.

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Spring 2013

Muscle Shoals Hosts ANHA Spring Meeting

Source: National Heritage Areas Newsletter

MSNHA hosted members of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas for their spring meeting in April, 2013, and also helped sponsor "Lincoln at the Library" at the Florence-Lauderdale Public Library.

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January 2013

National Heritage Area plan to be presented Tuesday in Decatur

Source: Decatur Daily

After almost two years of information gathering, interviews and research, the management plan for the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area is ready to be presented to the public.

A draft version of the plan will be presented during a meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Turner-Surles Community Center in Decatur.


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JUNE 16, 2011

Heritage Organizers Want Input from Locals

Source: Moulton Advertiser

Local officials are asking for Lawrence County’s input on how to bring more tourism dollars to the area. Leaders of the Muscle Shoals National Heritage area are hosting a meeting tonight at 6 p.m. at the Moulton City Hall and local residents are asked to attend.
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JUNE 15, 2011

Public Input for Heritage Area

Source: Courier Journal

Newby Gulf Station in Athens was built in 1933. It’s one of only two service station/cafe structures of the Prairie Style architecture left in the state. This was one of the first full-service stations to open in Alabama. The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area was designated by Congress in March, of 2009 making it one of 49 National Heritage Areas in the US and the only one in Alabama. 
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APRIL 14, 2011

Public Scoping Meetings to Be Held for Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area

Source: UNA

Public Scoping Meetings will be held for the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area at the Limestone County Event Center at 5 p.m. April 25 and at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame at 5 p.m. April 28. The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, housed at the University of North Alabama, was designated by the U.S. Congress in March 2009 to preserve and promote culturally and historically significant sites within a six-county area of north Alabama. 
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Partnered with UNA.