August 2021

Dear friends,

We continue to creep along with construction - the daily rains have made getting the footers completed very difficult. But, the trusses for the roof have arrived! Once the footers are completed we expect they will be able to move along much better.

It is frustrating to all that everything has taken so long, but especially to Bob White, the contractor. No one ever expected a pandemic to happen and make this build so difficult. We are grateful to him and to Matt, his foreman, for hanging in there, taking all the unexpected delays in stride, and keeping us calm and optimistic.

This expansion will be well worth waiting for!

Sandy Arpen
Third Thursday lecture on August 19
Don't forget to sign-up for the August 19th Third Thursday Lecture via Zoom - beginning at 7 p.m.

This event will feature a special speaker, Brent Martin, who will be sharing with us all the way from the beautiful hills of North Carolina. The topic will be “William Bartram in Northern Florida.”
Mr. Martin has been a conservationist and educator for most of his life and is considered an expert on the Bartrams. Currently he serves as the Executive Director of the Blue Ridge Bartram Trail Conservancy ( and is a co-owner, with his wife Angela, of a Southern Appalachian guide service, “Alarka Expeditions” ( Prior to his work at the conservancy, he was Southern Appalachian Regional Director of the Wilderness Society. He is also a poet and an author.
Martin will discuss William Bartram's travels through northern Florida and the St. Johns River valley during the 1760s with his father, as well as time spent exploring there in the 1770s. Bartram loved the St. Johns River, and this discussion will include the subjects of Native American customs and beliefs he observed, the plant and animal world, and his artistic renderings of the area. We will also explore the internal landscape of Bartram - his motivations and beliefs and his unique perspective on the American landscape.  
To register for this special lecture, please email us at and a Zoom Meeting link will be sent to you.

Sharing a program offered by the Jacksonville Historical Society:

"The Real Origins of Florida Tourism"
John T. Foster, Jr. traces his Florida roots back to the 1880s. He went to seven different schools by the middle of seventh grade; he lived in Manhattan, Kansas; Gainesville, Florida; Naples, Florida, and four suburbs around Jacksonville before arriving at Florida State University in the 1960s with aspirations to be a historian and high school teacher. Ultimately, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in social studies and anthropology, a master’s in anthropology, and his doctoral degree in the design of post-secondary education. Foster taught for almost 40 years at the well-known historically Black university, Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University.
Foster has written three books documenting the efforts of abolitionists to create a place of genuine freedom for all Americans. His latest, “At the Dawn of Tourism in Florida: Abolitionists, Print Media, and Images for Early Vacationers,” and a second edition of “Calling Yankees to Florida: Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Forgotten Tourist Articles,” are the basis for his presentation. (Mandarin Museum carries both of his books.)
Click here to register for the program.
Renown artist Brenda Councill will be at the Store and Post Office on August 28 from 10-2.

12471 Mandarin Rd. - 1 mile west of Walter Jones Park

Fundraiser for MMHS Exhibit Renovation!
Brenda Councill moved to Jacksonville in 1962, when she was six years old, and she grew up in Mandarin. She began painting at an early age and when she was only seven she already had an exhibition of her paintings featured at the Jacksonville Museum of Arts and Sciences (now MOSH.)

Brenda’s interest in historic preservation led to a series of award winning drawings featuring historic landmarks, in Mandarin. In the early 1980s, Brenda opened a studio to publish limited edition prints and these prints were very popular. There are very few of them left.

Thankfully, she had put some aside in her studio and has been offering them to MMHS to help raise funds for the exhibit expansion, which includes a new Art Gallery.

On this day you can actually meet her and buy some of her prints directly from her, like Bob and Kathy Nay did at the 2019 Art Festival.

We are so grateful to Brenda for her many contributions and support for Mandarin Museum's mission over the years. She may live in North Carolina now, but part of her heart is still here with Mandarin history.

Thank you very much Brenda.

Learn more about Brenda's amazing career after leaving Mandarin:
"Expected" openings of historic buildings in August

We have a schedule for August and we hope it will be OK to gather. BUT, we are continuing to stay on top of the ongoing and now worsening pandemic. We are requiring masks inside the buildings. So, check Facebook postings for any possible changes before coming out, or call 268-0784.

The August schedule of openings is:

August 14 from 10-2: Webb/Jones Farmhouse, Losco Winery, St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children and 1876 Barn in Walter Jones Historical Park. Gift Shop open on the front porch of the Mandarin Museum in the park.

August 14 from 10-12: There is also a frog painting party, and we do have two tables available. We separate families by table. Email if you are interested in the August frog painting. Be sure to tell us how many people are in your group and whether they want to paint a frog, turtle or squirrel.

August 28 from 10-2: Webb/Jones Farmhouse, Losco Winery, St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children and 1876 Barn will be open in Walter Jones Historical Park, as well as the Gift Shop.

AND the 1911 Mandarin Store and Post Office will be also open these hours at 12471 Mandarin Road, with a special appearance by artist Brenda Councill.

The Mandarin Museum building will remain closed until construction and renovation are complete.
Volunteer Spotlight - Don Bowden

On July 1, our beloved Frogman molded the 8,000th of the frogs that have been a part of our Museum for six years this month. As it happened, that day was also his 69th birthday. He was determined that it would be a great thing for our youngest volunteer, Audrey Everett to be the recipient of the # 8000 frog. "Audrey is always so pleasant and eager to tell the stories of our museum", he said. "She represents our younger generation - those who'll keep our history going". Thank you Don AND Audrey!

We are welcoming a few more volunteers, some from our younger population. We always have room for more. Opportunities from computer help, to being a docent, to spending time making our buildings and the grounds beautiful are available. We welcome young and older. Younger are eager; older are experienced. Both are valuable to our volunteer team and the community we love.

Paula Suhey
Thank you to Brownie Troop 939, Mandarin Presbyterian Church, for visiting Walter Jones Historical Park and doing a scavenger hunt in July.

What a great way to learn about your community, nature, history and just having a great time with special friends!

We're hoping to see these girls again when COVID is over, for a service project and private tour of the buildings. They are our future!

Mandarin Newsline

The August 2021 edition of the Mandarin Newsline will be online by the 1st or 2nd of the month.

This free newspaper is our chief way of sharing history stories, events and programs with the public. They are able to publish free papers due to the robust local advertising. Please pay attention to the ads and shop and eat at those businesses that support the community in this way. To read the entire Newsline click HERE and then click Digital Editions at the top of the page and then the August 2021 "Mandarin Newsline" link.
Reminder for members

Many museums are reopening, so don't forget that being a member of MMHS gives you discounts at other museums in the Southeast through the Southeastern Museums Conference Reciprocal Membership Program. Take your MMHS membership card to any of the museums listed HERE and some discount is applied to entry fees or gift shop sales. At MMHS, since we are always free, you receive a discount on most books in our shop.

We are always calling for more volunteers!

We always need more volunteers, as they are the backbone of our organization. This becomes even more important as we start reopening and hoping to have the buildings open even more.

If you would like more information CLICK HERE or email Paula Suhey, Volunteer Coordinator, at and she will give you a call and tell you all about the opportunities we have. 

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram - click logos below.
Until next time....

Enjoy this amazing photo taken on July 29 by local photographer and MMHS friend, Rick Strickland. Many reported seeing this very unusual and interesting sunset. This one was taken at the park.
Thank you to our community partners

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