In 2012, the National Trust for Historic Preservation designated the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area as a National Treasure. The designation was announced at a public meeting held in Vicksburg on May 14, 2012. The Mississippi Delta is currently the only place in the United States that is designated as a National Heritage Area a National Treasure.
What is a National Treasure?
National Treasures is a new campaign of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The campaign includes a growing portfolio of historic places in imminent danger or facing a significant threat. National Treasures are:
- Diverse places selected by National Trust experts in communities throughout the United States.
- Places that retain their essential integrity and have made a significant contribution to our nation’s story.
- Places that catalyze support and where preservation plans can be replicated across America.
These beloved places range from one-room schoolhouses to inspiring monuments, from ancient sites to modern masterpieces. National Treasures reflect our past while enriching our future. Today, thousands of these irreplaceable buildings, landscapes, and communities are endangered as never before. That is why the National Trust for Historic Preservation has launched an innovative campaign to save them. With the support of thousands of local preservationists and preservation professionals from coast to coast, the Trust is identifying endangered National Treasures and taking action to save them.
How was the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area designated?
National Treasures are selected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation through review of an application that describes the importance of the resource and how the National Trust can assist in its preservation. The national significance of the Mississippi Delta – as evidenced by its National Heritage Area designation – and the opportunities created by development of the management plan, were determining factors in National Treasure designation.
As noted in the application, “The Delta tells many of the nation’s diverse stories including the Civil War, Great Migration, Civil Rights, agriculture and as the birthplace of the Blues. Many places associated with these stories offer opportunities to showcase the importance of historic preservation not just in iconic, landmark buildings but in structures that may have been previously overlooked as preservation projects. The small towns and large farms which dot the landscape, sites such as the B.B. King Museum and places like the Blues Front Café and Club Ebony all convey a sense of place and history from many eras.”
How will the designation benefit the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area?
Through the National Treasures campaign, the National Trust for Historic Preservation will provide additional services beyond development of the management plan. These include identifying threatened historic resources and providing assistance for their preservation. The National Treasures campaign will also showcase the Mississippi Delta’s “best practices” to help advance advocacy for other National Heritage Areas across the country.