Here are the latest MSNHA news releases --



April 7, 2017


Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area

University of North Alabama One Harrison Place, UNA Box 5231 Florence, AL 353632-0001       

MSNHA announces photo contest


FLORENCE – The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area is hosting a photo contest that celebrates the people and places of northwest Alabama. Deadline for entries is June 15.


“Our area is full of history, culture and natural beauty,” said MSNHA interim director Carrie Barske, “as well as talented and creative people. We want to showcase those resources and share the things that make us so special.”


A program of the National Park Service, national heritage areas recognize regions throughout the country that help tell America’s story. The MSNHA is hosted by the University of North Alabama and includes the six northwest Alabama counties of the Tennessee River basin--Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan. It focuses on the themes of music, Native Americans and the river itself.


Contest categories are Native American culture, music, the Tennessee River and nature. One winner in each category will receive a $50 gift certificate from Swampers Bar and Grille, in Florence, and $25 cash. An additional grand prize winner will receive a one-night stay at the Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa and dinner for two at the 360 Grille plus $50 cash. Winning photographs, as well as potentially other entries, will be featured on the MSNHA website and Facebook page and may be used in promotional materials.


“We hope people will use this contest as inspiration to discover MSNHA’s treasures,” Barske added. “From outdoor recreation and beautiful landscapes to our American Indian heritage to northwest Alabama’s continuing role and influence in today’s music industry, our area is known around the world. There’s no better way to tell our local stories than through our own local images.”


Entries must be digital, taken within the MSNHA by non-professional photographers and submitted by the person who took the photo, Barske said. Other contest rules and information plus the entry form and a release form are on the MSNHA website,


Questions? Email



                                                                                                                                                               Jan. 18, 2017

Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area
University of North Alabama
One Harrison Place, UNA Box 5231
Florence, AL 353632-0001

MSNHA sets grants deadline & workshop

FLORENCE -- The deadline to apply for the next round of Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area community grants is Monday, April 3 – and MSNHA has increased the maximum award to $10,000.
Grant awards from $1,000 up to $10,000 are available for heritage-focused projects in MSNHA’s six counties: Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan. To be eligible, proposed projects must focus on assessment, preservation activities, interpretation, archiving or workshops and training sessions and be connected to one of the MSNHA’s themes: music, Native American culture or the Tennessee River.
“MSNHA has always wanted to offer sizeable grant awards for larger projects,” said grants administrator Cathy Wood. “Now that our grants program is established, we’re confident we can help museums, archives, associations, historic sites and other community non-profits reach some of their goals.”
Guidelines, applications and instructions are at
MSNHA will host a free grants workshop, 2-4 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 23, in the Guillot University Center at the University of North Alabama. The workshop is open to anyone interested in applying for an MSNHA community grant. Reserve space by emailing
Since opening its grants program in 2015 with maximum amounts of $2,500, MSNHA has awarded nearly $15,000 for projects throughout its six counties. Successful projects include living history reenactments, historic markers, digitization and restoration with applicants such as the Jackson House Foundation, Moulton; Oka Kapassa Festival Committee, Tuscumbia; Natchez Trace Parkway Association; Old State Bank, Decatur; and Florence-Lauderdale Public Library.
For more information on MSNHA or its grants program, email or visit
###April 18, 2016


Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area


University of North Alabama

One Harrison Place, UNA Box 5231

Florence, AL 353632-0001


                    Historic Tuscumbia church receives grant


FLORENCE, Ala. … 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.

The Technical Assistance grant recently was awarded by the Heritage Development Partnership in collaboration with the National Park Service. The grant will fund an asset-mapping project which will engage local leaders and members of the public. Asset-mapping will connect the dots between key community institutions and resources to respond to unique opportunities that will contribute to the vitality of the National Heritage Area and surrounding communities.

“MSNHA is interested in the preservation of historic places of worship as part of its mission to protect and preserve cultural and historic resources throughout its six-county region,” said Alma Hubbard, MSNHA director. “The connection of assets can lead to new programs, connect new resources and initiate new partnerships that make the most of St. John’s place in the community.”

St. John’s work with Philadelphia-based Partners for Sacred Places will focus on a bold approach to advance the preservation and active use of the church’s important historic building by thinking creatively about ways to respond to the needs and opportunities posed by the community. Partners is the only national, nonsectarian nonprofit committed to the preservation and active community use of America’s older religious properties.

“This is an exciting opportunity both for St. John’s and for the entire Shoals community,” said Ninon Parker, St. John’s trustee and project partner.

“This project will allow the Diocese of Alabama to provide a significant service to the broader area that was so long served by this venerable old parish,” added Rev. Thomas Osborne, deacon of Grace Episcopal Church, Sheffield, and also a project partner.  

For more information on the MSNHA, visit                


March 2, 2016

Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area

University of North Alabama

One Harrison Place, UNA Box 5231

Florence, AL 353632-0001


Contact: Cathy Wood

MSNHA grants administrator & media coordinator    256.762.5057

MSNHA hosts grant writing workshop


FLORENCE, Ala. … 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.

Registration is free, but participants must email by Wednesday, March 16, to reserve their spots. The workshop includes a presentation on National Heritage Areas by MSNHA director Alma Hubbard. MSNHA grants administrator Cathy Wood and UNA director of grants and contract accounting Anita Holcombe will walk workshop participants through the grants process and discuss the characteristics of a strong application.

MSNHA unveiled its community grants program last year and has funded several successful projects through the grant awards.

“We offer matching grants to provide and leverage funding for innovative projects across our six-county region which preserve, protect and promote the rich historical, cultural and natural heritage of northwest Alabama while stimulating economic opportunity,” Hubbard said. “To increase both the awareness of and participation in our grants program, we’re offering our inaugural grant writing workshop. Our goal is to provide a practical, step-by-step strategy to writing a competitive and successful grant proposal.”

For details on the MSNHA and its grants program, visit



For More Information:

Contact: Natalie Linville-­‐Mass

P: (309) 948-­‐1436



THE SHOALS, AL/ MAY 9TH – MAY 12th, 2015 – Living Lands & Waters is proud to bring their operation to The Shoals from Saturday, May 9th through May 12th as the fourth stop of the Tennessee River Tour. Stopping at six ports in three different states, this tour will help raise awareness to the importance of the river, and highlight local groups who are already engaged in environmental stewardship.


Knoxville,   TN   Chattanooga, TN Huntsville/Decatur, AL Muscle Shoals/Florence, AL Paris, TN -­‐ Paducah, KY

“Over the last 18 years I’ve been able to travel to thousands of cities throughout the nation, and we are thrilled to be coming to The Shoals! Not only because of the amazing people have who been so helpful and welcoming, but also because the great history that surrounds the city.” said Living Lands & Waters’ Founder and President “We hope to leave The Shoals just a little bit better than when we found it.”

The barges will be moored on the riverfront near McFarland Park in Florence, AL, and there will be a variety of activities open to the public throughout this week. These events include a river cleanup, the Tennessee River Tour Speaker Series featuring Jim Lacefield, author of Lost Worlds in Alabama Rocks, discussing the geological history of the Tennessee River in Alabama, as well as an open house on the barge. LL&W will also host a press conference highlighting local groups, and educational workshops with local high school students.  The river cleanup is currently full, but participants who have their boats that wish to join can meet at the barge at 9am for further details.


Saturday, May 9th 9am-­‐12pm River Cleanup (The river cleanup is currently full, but participants who have their boats that wish to join can meet at the barge at 9am for further details.)2pm-­‐6pm The Singing River Celebration – Live music, and Muscle Shoals hits, family & fun at the Florence Lauderdale Tourism Office in McFarland Park (200 Jim Spain Drive, Florence, AL 35630) Please bring food and drink for your family!

Sunday, May 10th 1pm-­‐4pm Open House (Barge Tours)

Monday, May 11th 9am-­‐2pm Educational Workshop – Creekside Academy, Waterloo School, Brooks High School6:30pm-­‐8pm Tennessee River Tour Speaker Series

Tuesday, May 12th 9am-­‐2pm Educational Workshop – Florence Middle School 1:30pm Press Conference (McFarland Park)

The Tennessee River Tour’s primary sponsors are the Tennessee Valley Authority, Keep Tennessee Beautiful, and Tennessee Valley Towing. The Shoals partners include: City of Florence, City of Muscle Shoals, Keep the Shoals Beautiful, Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association, City of Sheffield, City of Tuscumbia, Shoals Chamber of Commerce, Tennessee Riverkeeper, Shawn Patrick, and Visit Florence.

For more information on the Tennessee River Tour, please visit

About Living Lands & Waters – Chad Pregracke started Living Lands & Waters in 1998 as a  not-­‐for-­‐profit  organization  dedicated  to  the  beautification  and  restoration  of  America’s major  rivers  and  the  education  of  environmental  issues.  From  his  single  boat  beginning, LL&W has grown to an industrial strength, internationally known organization with a fleet of  barges  and  workboats.    LL&W  engages  thousands  of  volunteers  each  year  in  river cleanups,   hands-­‐on   environmental   education   workshops,   the   Great   Mississippi   River Cleanup,  Adopt-­‐a-­‐  River-­‐Mile  program,  Invasive  Species  Removal,  and  the  Million  Trees Project.




Florence, Ala., Receives MS Blues Trail Marker

May 20, 2015

      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, 620 West College Street in Florence, Ala., at 2 p.m. on Thursday, 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. The Florence marker, which will also honor local natives Sam Phillips and Frank-O Johnson, is the 186th on the Mississippi Blues Trail and one of only 14 outside the state of Mississippi. A "Mississippi to Alabama" marker was dedicated to the Muscle Shoals studio legacy in 2010 at the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in Tuscumbia.

           “We are very excited to be able to honor W.C. Handy and his connection to both Mississippi and Alabama,” said Malcolm White, director of Visit Mississippi. “The markers tell of musical legends, their influences, and the history of an area that gave birth to the blues. The Mississippi Blues Trail is one of the best ways to experience the richness of this region and we are so pleased to celebrate Handy in his hometown of Florence."

                Handy was born in Florence on November 16, 1873, in a log cabin at 620 West College Street, which now houses the expanded W.C. Handy Home, Museum and Library. In his autobiography Handy wrote that music he heard as a child in Florence “generated the motif for my blues." Handy listened to spirituals, hymns, the work songs of a field hand, and the fiddle tunes of Jim Turner, and it was in Florence that he received the musical training in school and church that prepared him for his career as a bandleader, composer and publisher. He also credited songs he heard in Bessemer and Muscle Shoals, and in Evansville, Indiana; Henderson, Kentucky; St. Louis, Missouri; and Memphis, Tennessee; as well as the Mississippi Delta, contributing to his repertoire of blues adaptations and compositions.

                Handy's "Memphis Blues" (1912) was among the first blues songs ever published. His most famous song, "St. Louis Blues," ranks as one of the most-recorded songs of any genre. Handy compiled a prolific catalogue as a music publisher in Memphis and New York and became the public voice of the blues, often quoted in the press and saluted far and wide for his achievements. His death in New York City on March 28, 1958, came less than two weeks before the premiere of the Hollywood film based on his life, "St. Louis Blues," starring Nat King Cole as Handy. 

               For more information about the Mississippi Blues Trail, visit, explore the state’s official tourism website at, or contact Mary Margaret Miller, Visit Mississippi’s Creative Economy program manager at



March 18, 2015


Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area


University of North Alabama

One Harrison Place, UNA Box 5231

Florence, AL 353632-0001


MSNHA offers community grants

FLORENCE -- 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,

One of MSNHA’s goals since the Heritage Area was formed in 2009, the grants program was realized when the Department of the Interior approved MSNHA’s management plan this past fall. That approval meant that MSNHA could receive more federal funds for local interpretive projects, Sizemore added

“MSNHA will award up to $2,500 per project to libraries, museums, historical societies and other non- and not-for-profits for the preservation, conservation, interpretation and archiving of heritage sites and traditions,” Sizemore said. “To be eligible, proposed projects must focus on assessment, preservation activities, interpretation, archiving or workshops and training sessions.”

Sizemore announced the grant program during a recent open house and ribbon cutting celebrating the MSNHA administrative offices’ move to the historic Governors’ House, 468 N. Court St., home of Alabama governors Edward O’Neal and son Emmet O’Neal. The Heritage Area shares the space with the UNA Public History Center, where students gain hands-on experience in preservation and interpretation by helping local communities protect historic sites.

For more information on MSNHA or its grants program, email, call 256.765.5028 or visit the website at



Oct. 7, 2014

Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area

University of North Alabama

One Harrison Place, UNA Box 5231

Florence, AL 353632-0001


History department, MSNHA host Civil War conference

FLORENCE, Ala. … A conference marking the sesquicentennial of the Civil War will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1, at the University of North Alabama’s Guillot Student Center, with retired Auburn University history professor James McDonough as keynote speaker.

Several UNA students also will present Civil War research papers, and a secondary education-panel headed by assistant professor Gary Padgett will discuss the Battle of Shiloh from a literary perspective.

Hosted by the UNA department of history and Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, the conference is open to everyone. Cost is $10 for students and $15 for adults, which includes lunch and the keynote speaker. Registration information is at or by email to Deadline to preregister is 4 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30. There is no cost or registration required to attend the research-paper presentations or panel discussions.

The conference schedule:

  1. Session 1, 9:30 a.m. -- Kayla Scott, Battle of Shiloh; and John Gurner, Confederate soldiers’ hardships at Ft. Morgan
  2. Session 2, 10:45 a.m. -- Nicholas Mosvick, Legal History of Conscription; and Roy Wisecarver, Karl Marx and the American Civil War
  3. Lunch, 12:30 p.m. – McDonough, Battle of Nashville
  4. Session 2 p.m. -- secondary education panel on literary analysis of the Battle of Shiloh and how literature shapes young adults’ views of the battle.

McDonough, of Lewisburg, Tenn., is professor emeritus of history at Auburn.  A native of Nashville, he studied at David Lipscomb College, Vanderbilt University, Abilene Christian College and Florida State University, from which he earned a Ph.D. in history. He was a faculty member at Lipscomb and Pepperdine University as well as Auburn. An award-winning historian, he’s written numerous books, articles and book reviews, mostly about the Civil War, and spoken to various groups around the nation.

For more information on the conference, call the MSNHA office at 256.765.5028.              



Sept. 23, 2014

Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area

University of North Alabama

One Harrison Place, UNA Box 5231

Florence, AL 353632-0001


MSNHA management plan approved

FLORENCE, Ala. … 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.

Authorized by Congress in 2009, MSNHA is part of the National Heritage Area program that protects, promotes and preserves places around the country that contribute to America’s cultural heritage. The MSNHA focuses on the Tennessee River, Native Americans and music in Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan counties.

“Congress and the National Park Service require Heritage Areas to develop a management plan that encompasses strategic planning, goals, a business plan, marketing initiatives and inventories of historic and natural resources. Writing our plan was a three-year effort with support from community leaders, government officials, the University of North Alabama and others who attended our public meetings and submitted comments online,” Sizemore said.

Congress named UNA the fiduciary for MSNHA. Under the university’s direction, MSNHA began to develop the organizational structure needed to carry out the legislative mandate.

In in letter announcing the approval, Michael J. Bean, principal deputy assistant secretary in the Interior Department, commended the MSNHA for a well-conceived management plan.

“The plan, which was informed by numerous stakeholders, demonstrates the advantages of the partnership between the Interior Department and Heritage Areas,” he said. “MSNHA contains some of our nation’s most important historic, cultural and natural resources. We look forward to working with you on the implementation of the plan and our mutually held resource-protection objectives.”

For details on MSNHA, visit the website at



Aug. 24, 2014

Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area

University of North Alabama

One Harrison Place, UNA Box 5231

Florence, AL  35632-0001  


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National Heritage Areas -- 30 years telling America's stories

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The country’s first National Heritage Area -- the Illinois and Michigan Canal National Heritage Corridor -- turns 30 on August 24 and is celebrating the success of a program that promotes and protects America’s significant cultural sites.

In the 1980s, community and National Park Service leaders wanted a new approach to conserve and develop the historic Illinois and Michigan Canal, the primary transportation corridor linking Chicago to other parts of the country from 1848 to 1933. After years of neglect, the canal was a toxic waste dump. Visionary leaders designed a program to unite the 96-mile Canal region as a National Heritage Area, preserving historic, cultural and natural sites as well as developing roadways, businesses and residential and industrial districts. 

The National Heritage Areas approach – a large-landscape that includes active communities, a multidisciplinary emphasis and community-based coordination – was groundbreaking in the 1980s and has grown into a vital partnership for enhancing and preserving America’s cultural heritage.

Signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on August 24, 1984, I & M Canal National Heritage Corridor’s designation paved the way for future National Heritage Area designations, including the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, which Congress designation in 2009 to promote cultural tourism by education, preservation and conservation of the heritage and culture of the six counties within northwest Alabama’s Tennessee River basin.

“Here in northwest Alabama, we are continuing the National Heritage Area mission established 30 years ago,” said MSNHA director Judy Sizemore. “We inform, educate, develop and interpret visitor-ready sites, create living history experiences and chronicle the evolution of the area's landscape as well as extend these opportunities to the largest audience possible.”

Since 1984, Congress has designated 49 NHAs and numerous bills have been introduced to create more.  Continued interest in the NHA approach is a testament to the benefits of community-driven, landscape-scale preservation, conservation and development, advocates say.   

NHAs and their partners are reviving historic downtowns, preserving battlefields and industrial sites, providing new and improved recreation opportunities, telling our nation’s history in innovative ways, engaging youth in stewardship activities and conserving forgotten waterways and wetlands. 

“I have witnessed the growth and maturity of the heritage areas movement and individual heritage areas and am convinced of their effectiveness,” wrote NPS director Jon Jarvis. “National Heritage Areas are places where small investments pay huge dividends, providing demonstrable benefits in communities across the country and in partnership with our national parks.”   

According to a 2013 economic impact report issued by the Alliance of National Heritage Areas and the NPS, NHAs contribute $12.9 billion yearly to the US economy, primarily through increased visitation and tourism.  In addition, NHA economic activity supports approximately 148,000 jobs annually.   

In 2013, NHAs leveraged approximately $48 million to the $16 million received through NPS’s National Heritage Areas program fund and used that money for preservation, conservation, recreation and education. They distributed more than 600 grants in a total of $4 million and worked with more than 60,000 volunteers (at approximately 900,000 volunteer hours) in heritage area projects and programs.

The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area, waiting on NPS approval of its final management plan, already has strengthened northwest Alabama’s cultural heritage. MSNHA has worked with the University of North Alabama’s public-history graduate program to create educators’ packets for several historic sites, designed a Map Our History project to teach youngsters about the cultural and historic treasures in the MSNHA and is a key player in preserving the area’s iconic music history by helping develop the Roots of American Music Trail.

MSNHA also has established 13 Passport to Your National Parks cancellation sites and regularly helps tourists plan their visits here.

During the week of Aug 24-30, the NPS and NHAs across the country are celebrating the birthday of the first NHA and 30 years of NHA partnership and accomplishments. 

To learn more, visit and Add to the discussion by sharing your favorite story or picture using #HeritageArea30. For details on NHAs, including an interactive map and economic impact data, visit Information on the MSNHA is at

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June 3, 2014

Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area

University of North Alabama

One Harrison Place, UNA Box 5231

Florence, AL  35632-0001  


More National Park stamps at northwest Alabama sites

FLORENCE, Ala. … The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area has added six cancellation stamps to the Passport to Your National Parks© program, which encourages people to explore the history and natural resources in America’s national spaces.

The new sites are Alabama Chanin, 462 Lane Drive, Florence, daily factory tours of its clothing manufacturing process; Alabama Music Hall of Fame, 617 Hwy. 72, Tuscumbia, exhibits and displays celebrating Alabama’s music heritage; Oakville Indian Mounds Park and Museum, 1219 County Road 187, Danville, preserves and presents artifacts and ancient geological evidence of the settlement and evolution of the Creek (Muskogee), Yuchi (Uchean), Shawnee (Algonquin), Chickasaw (Muskogee) and Cherokee (Iroquoian) tribes; Wheeler Wildlife Refuge, 3121 Visitor Center Road, Decatur, a bird habitat also offering hiking and fishing; Belle Chevre, 18849 Upper Fort Hampton Road, Elkmont, factory tours of hand-crafting French-style goat’s milk cheese; and Rock Bridge Canyon Equestrian Park, 331 Trail Head Road, Hodges, horse-riding trails.

National Heritage Areas tell America’s story through historical, cultural and natural resources. The MSNHA – Alabama’s only National Heritage Area -- includes Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan counties.

Last year MSNHA established seven passport sites: W.C. Handy Home, Museum and Library, Florence; Ivy Green, birthplace of Helen Keller, Tuscumbia; Red Bay Museum, historical displays plus memorabilia from country music star Tammy Wynette; Pond Spring, home of Confederate Gen. Joe Wheeler, Courtland; Mooresville, first town incorporated by the Alabama Territorial Legislature (1818); Old State Bank, completed in 1833, Decatur; and the MSNHA office.

Also new this year is MSNHA’s Map Our History© program. Families can download a frame-able hand-illustrated treasure map of the 13 stamp sites from, collect all 13 stamps and then receive a commemorative coin.

“Participating in Map Our History is a perfect summer-time family activity,” said MSNHA executive director Judy Sizemore.  “It’s a great way to travel throughout our part of the state, learn about history in our own backyard and discover some new outdoor recreational opportunities.”

The cancellation stamps are free and feature an image of each location as well as the date. Visitors should check operating hours in advance since many sites aren’t open full-time, Sizemore added

Passports cost less than $10 each and are sold at as well as gift shops at Shiloh National Military Park, Shiloh, Tenn.; Corinth Interpretive Center, Corinth, Miss.; Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center, Tupelo, Miss.; and other National Park Service locations.

For more information, visit



News Release

Aug. 16, 2013

Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area

University of North Alabama

One Harrison Place, UNA Box 5231

Florence, AL  35632-0001


Comments needed for MSNHA management plan

FLORENCE, Ala. … The Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area has posted its management plan online at, the National Park Service’s website for planning and public comment, and is asking for feedback.

Anyone can access the plan at, read it and submit comments. Deadline for comments is Oct. 3.

“The management plan is a framework for us, a constitution that will govern how MSNHA operates,” said Judy Sizemore, MSNHA executive director. “It includes an interpretative plan with comprehensive actions and strategies for telling the area’s stories as well as a business plan and goals for the future.”

Sizemore and a planning team spent two years collecting data, putting the management plan together and holding public meetings to introduce and explain the plan. Now they are accepting online comments before revising the plan and submitting the final draft to the National Park Service, which oversees the National Heritage Area program.

Congress has designated 49 National Heritage Areas across the country in recognition of historical and cultural significance and natural resources. Operating under the University of North Alabama, in Florence, the MSNHA preserves and promotes the history and culture of a six-county region in northwest Alabama. It is the only National Heritage Area in Alabama.

For more information, contact the MSNHA at 256.765.5028 or



News release:

Alliance of National Heritage Areas

Spring, 2013 meeting

May 1, 2013

Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area

University of North Alabama

One Harrison Place, UNA Box 5231

Florence, AL  35632-0001


History, music & BBQ: NHA directors visit northwest Alabama

FLORENCE, Ala. … From Wilson Pickett to Helen Keller, from barbecue-stuffed potatoes to fried green tomatoes, National Heritage Area directors sampled the best of northwest Alabama during recent meetings hosted by the Muscle Shoals National Heritage Area.

MSNHA director Judy Sizemore had invited members of the Alliance of National Heritage Areas to the six MSNHA counties for the group’s annual spring meeting, April 23-25. In addition, National Heritage Areas in the National Park Service’s Southeast Region met in a business session before the ANHA activities began.

As part of the ANHA meeting, Sizemore led the group on a field study day to several historic and cultural sites in the MSNHA: The main lock at Wilson Dam, on the Tennessee River, Florence; FAME Recording Studios, Muscle Shoals; Tuscumbia Landing, an American Indian site on the Tennessee River, Sheffield; Ivy Green, Helen Keller’s birthplace, Tuscumbia; GAS Design Studio and downtown Tuscumbia; Pond Spring, the home of Gen. Joe Wheeler and his daughter Annie, Courtland; Old State Bank, Decatur; and music and dinner on the paddlewheel boat the Pickwick Belle, Ingalls Harbor, Decatur.

University of North Alabama president William Cale also hosted a reception for the NHA directors in the newly restored historic Rogers Hall on the UNA campus.

The MSNHA promotes cultural tourism by education, preservation and conservation of the heritage and culture in Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone and Morgan counties with the themes of American Indians, the Tennessee River and local music.


Partnered with UNA.