The Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area is one of 49 sites designated by Congress to protect and preserve our American story. These 49 national heritage areas receive small amounts of funding and in-kind aid from the Park Service, but are founded on and sustained by partnerships between local agencies, businesses, citizen groups, and governments.
Tennessee’s geography and heritage were irreparably altered by the fighting that took place on its hills, in its fields, and through its towns 150 years ago. During the Civil War, the state of Tennessee saw more armed conflicts than any other state besides Virginia. The heritage of the Civil War and Reconstruction Era is deeply ingrained in Tennessee, and in 1996, Congress designated the entire state as a national heritage area to preserve and promote this history and culture.
The wealth of information and resources throughout the state is truly vast. A network of trails, sites, and museums share the stories of everyday life in the 1860s, including those of native Tennesseans, enslaved African Americans, and soldiers in both the Confederate and Union armies. The trails mark 250 sites important to Civil War history, including battlefields and skirmish sites.
Museums feature prominently in the national heritage area. In Nashville, the Tennessee State Museum houses artifacts such as hand-drawn maps of battlefields and weapons from the era. Local collections, like the Murfreesboro and Rutherford County Heritage Center provide more specific history—the diary of a local Tennessean woman, for example.
Numerous historic sites such as preserved mansions, plantations, and town districts are open to visitors throughout the heritage area. Visitors to these estates find themselves completely engulfed in 1860s life. A complete list of museums, sites, and other attractions throughout the heritage area is available at www.tncivilwar.org.