Protecting our heritage and providing a legacy for future generations are priorities for TVA.
The Tennessee Valley is rich in cultural resources—archaeological and historic sites, historic buildings and structures, cemeteries and other remnants from our past. These resources are precious—finite and nonrenewable. That’s why TVA plays an active role in protecting more than 12,500 archaeological sites on over 293,000 acres of land and 470,000 acres of inundated land.
Protecting archaeological resources was part of TVA's plan from the inception, with research beginning and publication in the 1930s. Today, TVA employs a staff of archaeologists and historians to help identify and preserve its cultural resources. Find out more about their work, and what you can do to support it.
With the help of the National Archives, TVA maintains a collection of more than 25,000 photographs documenting its work from 1933 to 1983. The extensive collection reveals early door-to-door efforts, such as helping farmers embrace better practices, as well as momentous undertakings, such as the building of dams and power plants. Read more about the program’s history and about the TVA Historic Photograph Collection.
The work of building TVA dams and creating the reservoir system that would avoid so much flooding throughout the Valley involved the careful relocation of many gravesites. Learn more about the process and find your ancestors with our listings—available in PDF format or as Excel files. Learn more about TVA's cemetery relocation efforts.
Eighteen federally recognized Native American tribes have ties to TVA lands, and an interest in protecting archaeological sites in the Tennessee Valley. Read about TVA’s cooperative efforts with these tribes.
Many structures and objects in the Tennessee Valley region are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, including farmsteads, mills, churches, schools and many of TVA’s own dams. Find out more.