March  2018 
Sam Burney - 2016
A huge loss in the Mandarin Community   
 Sam Burney

Dear members and friends,

When I arrived at the museum Saturday morning, February 3 and saw Joe Walsh walking towards me through the parking lot, I felt kind of nervous - because I just had a feeling he was coming with bad news. "We lost Sam last night" he said, and my heart turned heavy and I felt so very sad. I so appreciated that Joe came to tell me personally.

Joe  came to tell me about Sam's passing because he and Sam were best friends since Sam worked for Joe's dad at age 15 and Joe was 5 - and Joe says he followed him every where. And they were best friends when Sam died.

Samuel Burney was no ordinary man. He was 86 years old. To say his roots in Mandarin were deep is an understatement. His family - the Burneys and the Forresters have been in Mandarin since at least the mid-1800s (probably longer) and they lived around Orange Picker and Brady Roads all of that time.

Sam WAS Mandarin! He did go away to see the world for a while as he served in the Navy and as a Merchant Marine, but he came home and settled in on the homestead  property across from Alberts Field. He could do anything and he worked for and/or knew probably everyone in Mandarin at one time.

Sam was a dear friend to MMHS. He sat and let us interview him about his life, he rode around in a van and told us who lived where and did what, he met with Mark Woods who did a wonderful interview with him and he always answered our questions when we called and said "Sam, do you remember....?"

The highlight for us though, was when we found out that his mother and his father attended school at St. Joseph's in the very schoolhouse that we moved to the park. A photo of his mother now hangs in that schoolhouse. And, Sam was asked to ring the school bell for the very first time just moments before Sister Thomas Joseph cut the ribbon to open the building to the public on April 30, 2016. Sam rang that bell like he was 8, not 84. And you just knew, with several hundred people looking on, that Sam Burney was so proud of both of his parents and was so happy to ring that bell in honor of them and his whole family.

Sam will be greatly missed in Mandarin. I hope he knew how much we all at MMHS loved him.  May he rest in Peace after a life well lived.

Sandy Arpen
Gabriele Dempsey, Tracey Arpen and Mike Woodward
  12th Annual Invasive Plant Roundup Saturday - March 3

Please join us  from 9-12 at Walter Jones Historical Park, 11964 Mandarin Rd. as we tackle one of the biggest problems in the park. Volunteers are needed to help rid our natural areas of invasive plants. Invasive species smother our native plants and are one of the greatest ecological threats to natural communities in Florida.

Gather  your friends and family and participate in this fun event! No registration necessary unless you're bringing a large group. All participa nts will be entered into a random drawing for great prizes!
Please wear proper clothing and shoes (long pants, long sleeved shirts, a hat, an apron to keep gloves and bring hand clippers) as we have lots of camphor seedlings that need to be removed, and there are lots of those "devil claw" vines that always bite and draw blood!!! Also suntan lotion. We will have water and breakfast bars. Older children are welcome with parental or grandparent supervision. There are restrooms in the park, and we invite everyone to visit the museum and the one room schoolhouse  - open until 4:00PM.

Gabriele Dempsey, Team Captain
  Miss Aggie Day and Award 
March 3

For those who lived in Mandarin prior to 1964, this was a pretty typical view of Agnes Jones - sorting the mail at the Store and Post Office. Miss Aggie, as she was fondly called, ran this store and was Postmistress after her father died in 1928 until 1964 when Mandarin "needed a modern Post Office on State Road 13."

Miss Aggie's 36 years of service was marked by kindness, generosity to her neighbors and a deep love of her community. In 2003, MMHS created an award to honor women who contributed greatly to the community as Miss Aggie had. We will always remember and be grateful to every one of the award recipients: 
  • 2003: Kate Monson
  • 2004: Karen Roumillat
  • 2005: Rhonda Reese
  • 2006: Mary Ann Southwell
  • 2007: Mary Kimisnski and Bonnie McNultey
  • 2008: Jane Cooksey
  • 2009: Susan Earnhart
  • 2010: Alice Stanley
  • 2011: Elizabeth "Betty" Wolfe
  • 2012: Virginia Barker
  • 2013: Emily Lisska
  • 2014: Linda Levin
  • 2015: Sandy Arpen
  • 2016: Sarah Bailey
  • 2017: Susie Scott 
Please join us as we announce and congratulate this year's recipient at the historic 1911 Store and Post Office, located at 12471 Mandarin Rd. The ceremony honoring the yet- to- be announced resident will be at 1:00 PM.
The Store and Post Office will be open from 12-4. It is a day of celebrating Miss Agnes Jones as well as the contributions of someone who exemplifies similar love for the community. It is also an opportunity to learn more about historic Mandarin life through the unique and original items on display and to just hang out and visit at the Store and Post Office like so many did before us. You never know what interesting stories you will hear! 
Next Frog Painting
March 17

This beauty was painted by one of our young painters last February! You too can join in the fun of making your very own Mandarin Frog by coming to the painting party in the front yard of the museum.

This event brings the community together in such a beautiful way - multi-generation families, youngsters and elders, all having a great time doing something creative and fun together. This event is for all ages!

The Frogman provides you with an unpainted frog and we provide the paint and brushes and the rest is up to you.

Saturday, March 17  from 9:30-12 at the museum. Limited numbers. Reserve your spot please at or 268-0784. Frogs - $20. and turtles - $24. Let us know what you want to paint when you reserve.
for the Rotary Club of Mandarin's annual "Laughs for Charity" fundraiser.
April 19 

MMHS is the primary recipient of funds raised by this event - for the Museum expansion efforts. We are getting so close to our goal of raising enough matching funds to apply for a State of Florida grant for this project. "Laughs for Charity" can put us there!

This expansion will give us one more exhibit room and a larger archive/collection/work room. The new exhibit space will be a special and designated Maple Leaf gallery, enabling us to refresh, enlarge and enhance the exhibit about Maple Leaf  that currently exists.

Adding that space will also allow us to reopen our Art Gallery to rotating art depicting  Mandarin scenes and Mandarin artists as well as special shows. We will be able to expand our Harriet Beecher Stowe displays and add new stories and objects that have never been displayed before.

This event, which includes heavy hors d'oeurves, wine, auctions and a really funny family comedy show is so much fun - always a wonderful evening. You won't want to miss it. Please consider buying tickets to support these efforts. It is such a delightful way to help out. Just save the image below, print it and fill it in and send it in as directed with a check and your seats  will be reserved. If you own a business and would like to reserve a whole table, please email us at and we will send you a listing of opportunities.

Also - it you have any items that you would like to donate to the Silent Auction, please email us or call us at 268-0784. 
We are so honored, grateful and proud to work with the Mandarin Rotary to make this event the most successful ever.



The trip to Hartford is ON with ten people reserved already, but the hotel has agreed to hold a few extra rooms for us until March 26, which gives you more time to join us on our adventure to Hartford, CT.

Cathy Sugrue, travel/tour planner, has put together a very nice package for the dates of April 26 - 29. We expect the temperatures to average 65-70 degrees during the day, with flowering trees and plants in bloom. Included: 3 nights hotel with breakfast, tours of the Stowe properties as well as the home and museum of her neighbor Mark Twain, and entrance to the historic Wadsworth Atheneum Art Museum and their 37th Annual Fine Art & Flowers special event. One group dinner is included on Saturday. Other meals are on your own for individual flexibility and desires. All sites are within a one- mile walk in downtown Hartford.

Price per person:          $600.00 per person, double occupancy/ Single supplement $220.00
Deposit: $200.00 due with application, due before March 26. Final payment for all is due on March 26.
Websites to explore:

Please be aware this trip will be a maximum of 20 people. The air travel is not included so people can have flexibility to use points etc.  So please let Sandy know ASAP if you are interested or have questions - 710-6761 or - and a itinerary and application will be emailed to you right away.

We will miss you,  
Sherry Brown  

When we started the planning for the schoolhouse back in 2015, we received a call from Sheridan Brown, and she said "I'm a retired principal and I saw something about this schoolhouse and I would love to help."  


And she certainly did. Sherry jumped right in to be an active member of the team that was doing all the research for the stories we would tell inside this beautiful building. She had great suggestions and she organized all of our ideas  so quickly that we could hardly keep up. She redesigned the information sheet we send to teachers and updated the school standards we meet through our tours. She designed the Grand Opening  program and coordinated with Sister Thomas Joseph and Sister Kathy in St. Augustine. And then she became a monthly docent - getting the children excited about coming to an 1898 school!


But now she and her husband John are retiring to their lovely home on a lake near the mountains in Virginia and we say "so long for now" and THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Sherry for your many contributions to the St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children. You will be greatly missed here under the majestic oaks of Mandarin by all of us ...and by cardboard Sister Mary Albert who looks over the schoolhouse 24 hours a day - thanks to you! 

Join us at
 Mandarin Community Club's

Annual Mandarin Art Festival
Easter Weekend 

These young people visited the Store and Post Office last year durin the Art Festival and helped us remind people that "This Place Matters!"

Indeed this building matters and all the stories and history that are connected with it matter, as does the sense of community that you feel when you walk through the doors.

So we are happy to participate again on this very special occasion - 50 years of art festivals on these Mandarin Community Club Grounds. That is an amazing accomplishment! We congratulate the Community Club for their long-term commitment to arts and culture in Mandarin through this wonderful weekend - for half a century!

The Store and Post Office will be open during all festival hours on Saturday, March 31 (10-5) and Sunday, April 1(10-4). Pay us a visit and feel free to take someone on in a game of checkers or just sit out on the front porch and catch up with old friends.

As a special treat we will have some pieces of art on display from Memphis Wood and Charlie Brown, two of the founding artists of the festival back in 1968. We will also host local artist John Kenning from 12-3 on Saturday. John will be available to talk with you about his Store and Post Office print and even hand color one for you. John's prints will be for sale in the Store and Post Office, as will some of our most popular books.

For all the information about the Art Festival, please visit Mandarin Community Club's website by clicking here.

Meet the Divers Day     
The monthly "Meet the Maple Leaf Divers"
at Mandarin Museum in Walter Jones Historical Park. 
The Maple Leaf  divers will be here next on Saturday, March 17, from 12-4.

Meet and talk with Dr. Keith Holland and the men who found the Maple Leaf shipwreck and recovered the Civil War artifacts from this National Historic Landmark site in the St. Johns River at Mandarin Point. This is a unique and special opportunity to learn about Civil War history and everything Maple Leaf. 
Historic Store and Post Office Open
The historic 1911 Mandarin Store and Post Office is open from noon to 4 pm on Saturday, March 3 for Miss Aggie Day.  Located at 12471 Mandarin Road.
The old Mandarin Store and Post Office evokes memories of small town and village general stores across America. It was the hub of village life from the time it opened in 1911 until it closed in 1964.  

 "Under the Oaks" Music Jams  
The monthly "Under the Oaks" music jam will take  on March  4 at Walter Jones Historical Park from 2-4. Bring an acoustic instrument if you would like to play - listeners are always welcome. Everybody bring a lawn chair. The Mandarin Museum and St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children will be open during this event. WEATHER PERMITTING!


March 3 - Store and Post Office open 12-4 for Miss Aggie Day - Miss Aggie Award to be presented at 1:00.
March 4 - North Florida Folk Network Annual Meeting - open - 1-2
March 4 - Music Under the Oaks community music jam 2-4
March 17 - Frog Painting 9:30 - 12
March 17- "Meet the Maple Leaf Divers" 12-4
March 31 and April 1 - Mandarin Art Festival  - Store and Post Office open both days 
April 1 -  NO Music Under the Oaks community music jam due to Art Festival 
April 19 - Rotary Club of Mandarin  "Laughs for Charity" event 
April 21 - "Meet the Maple Leaf Divers" 12-4
May 17 - Third Thursday Lecture - Kathy Starks, artist/author 
December 1 - 19th Annual Winter Celebration in Walter Jones Historical Park

Mandarin Museum (11964 Mandarin Road) is open every Saturday from 9-4 in Walter Jones Historical Park .

The Mandarin Store and Post Office (12471 Mandarin Road)  is open from 12-4 on the first Saturday of every month (except March 31 when it is open 10-5 and also open April 1 from 10-4). 
School tours and adult group tours are scheduled during the week by appointment. Call 268-0784 or email us at
Follow us on Facebook. Click here to check it out.   
Harriet has so been on my mind recently because we are going to Hartford soon to see her home there and because she loved spring in Mandarin, with the smell of orange blossoms in the air. You will notice the beautiful fragrance when you walk the park the park for the next few weeks. I was so excited that I had to take a picture of them and also of an orchid tree bloom. Next will be the majestic magnolias. Let's hope we don't have a late freeze.

Sandy Arpen
MISSION: Mandarin Museum & Historical Society shares the stories of Mandarin's history, culture and natural resources by providing engaging programs that educate, entertain and inspire.


Mandarin Museum & Historical Society 
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