July 2020   

Dear Friends,

So is this really "Week 15"? When we were told that we had to close starting March 14, a "Frog Painting" day, we were not expecting to still be closed on July 1. And, with the number of cases continuing to rise this week, who really knows when it will be safe to reopen. We have plans to reopen before our museum expansion is complete, but they are  dependent on the rate of illness decreasing and staying that way. We must be patient.

So, we keep moving on in other ways: applying for CARE grants to help us get through these many months of almost zero income; researching and preparing new exhibits for our anticipated "Grand Reopening" after the expansion is complete; patiently awaiting the beginning of the expansion construction and touching base with our volunteers regularly.

Continue to keep up with us on for updates and history tidbits.  Enjoy the 4th of July. It's always fun to watch the fireworks and cook out with family and friends, but let's remember why we celebrate at all. This year, if you're staying in, it might be a great time to re-watch the movie musical "1776!"

"The Fourth of July - also known as Independence Day or July 4th - has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1941, but the tradition of Independence Day celebrations goes back to the 18th century and the American Revolution. On July 2, 1776, the Continental Congress voted in favor of independence, and two days later delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence, a historic document drafted by Thomas Jefferson." (

Please stay well and be patient as well.

  Sandy Arpen   
June was a BIG month for the Maple Leaf!  
Hopefully, everybody got to view the National Geographic program "Drain the Oceans", Season 3, Episode 7, which included the work the film crew did here in Jacksonville. Maple Leaf was one of four ships from the Civil War era that were included in the program. It was pretty exciting to have Maple Leaf included on this very popular TV series that airs in 170 countries. It was especially interesting to see what they think the wreckage looks like now after the sonar scanning that occurred. Here is the link to the program if you missed it: CLICK HERE.

There was also a great article in the magazine, "War History Online." This article includes lots of great photographs and was very well done. CLICK HERE to read it.

And, lastly, there was some controversy that came up during the month when Mayor Lenny Curry announced that two educational and historic signs about Maple Leaf were on the list of statues and signage to be removed on city-owned property. The first is on the boardwalk at Walter Jones Park and the second is the Florida Heritage Landmark sign on the Northbank Riverwalk.

The MMHS Board of Directors sent letters to the Mayor and our City Council members asking that these signs be removed from the list that exists and NOT be removed from their locations because they are educational and highlight a National Historic Landmark shipwreck, the Maple Leaf.

We still do not know if they will be removed from the list, so if you have any opinions on removal of these signs, we encourage you to contact Mayor Curry at 630-1776.

Thank You

During this difficult time when we must remain closed and have no regular income, we are extremely grateful to receive a Covid Relief grant of $4000 from:

Florida Humanities and NEH

"Funding has been provided to Mandarin Museum & Historical Society (MMHS) from the National Endowment for the Humanities through a grant from Florida Humanities as part of the 2020 Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020."
"Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by MMHS do not necessarily represent those of Florida Humanities or the National Endowment for the Humanities."

Remembering Jim Arnold 
We were so sad to see that Jim Arnold passed away this week. This photo was from 2016, when Jim spoke at Billy Barwald's memorial service at Mandarin Museum.

Jim was the oldest of three sons of Elizabeth and Lev Arnold, who owned a large piece of property next to Loretto Elementary School - now "Reds Gait" subdivision (named after the family's horse "Red"). Many old-timers remember Jim for his love of his horses, riding them around Mandarin...and also his yellow Corvette! Jim also ad mitted that he was one of the three teenagers who staged a fake robbery, on horseback, of the Little Train one Sunday afternoon.
Sadly, his brother David passed away last year, leaving Robin as the only brother surviving of the three. Jim is also survived by his two daughters, Julia and Alicia.

Jim graduated from duPont High School and Jacksonville University and had a long career in waste management. There will be a memorial service for him at the Mandarin Community Club on July 1 from 11-2 PM.

You can read his obituary HERE.

Mandarin Newsline

The July edition of the Mandarin Newsline is out. 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.

On the front page this month is a story about three local authors: David Gaslin, Jane Wood and Bob Nay. All three were present at the 2019 Winter Celebration and Bob Nay is on the MMHS Board of Directors. To read this article and the entire Newsline click   HERE.

In Our Collection

While going through things in the Archive Room in preparation for expansion of the space, we came across this cute note written by Jean Morrow. Jean, a life-long resident of Mandarin, passed away in 2004 at the age of 95, so she would have been about 13 in 1923, the year she referenced. She was considered to be Mandarin's historian for many years because of her love of history and because she knew so many people and so many stories.

Look at this beautiful river and stay calm, be positive and be safe.

Thank you to photographer Rick Strickland for this beautiful image of the St. Johns at sunset.

The Mandarin Museum and the Schoolhouse are usually open on Saturdays from 9-4. All other historic buildings in Walter Jones Historical Park (11964 Mandarin Rd.) AND the Mandarin Store and PO (12471 Mandarin Rd.), are usually open from 10-2 on the first Saturday.

School field trips and youth or adult group tours are scheduled mostly during the week - by appointment. Call 268-0784 or email us at   to make a reservation.    
However, these activities are not available at this time due to COVID-19. Reopening will be announced as soon as a date is determined.
We always need more volunteers, as they are the backbone of our organization. If you would like more information CLICK HERE to email Paula Suhey, Volunteer Coordinator and she will give you a call and tell you all about the opportunities we have.  Information is also available by clicking HERE
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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.

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