May 2019  
Dear MMHS Members and Friends,

First, some exciting and hopeful news. As you know from past communications, the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society  applied for funding ($92,000) from the State Division of Cultural Affairs (DCA) to match the monies already raised by generous local donors for a Facilities Matching Grant.   
Our expansion plan is: (1) to have a dedicated Maple Leaf Gallery which will enhance the presence of this National Historic Landmark shipwreck, (2) to return the small gallery room back into an art gallery again, (3) to increase the stories we tell in the main exhibit hall and to include Mandarin's African-American history, and (4) and to enlarge our archive room in order to manage our vast historical collection. 
MMHS ranked 9th out of 37 non-profits in the state that applied for Facilities Matching Grant funds. This was a very competitive and well-vetted process. We felt very positive about our chances because of our high ranking. 
However, the Secretary of State removed the funding requests of DCA from the budget.  The Governor did not put anything back in. In late April  the decision was in the hands of our State Senators and Representatives. Last week, the Senate and the House Conference Committee did agree to put forward a budget that includes monies for the four matching grant categories. In Facilities, the budget should meet the requests of the first 18 approved and recommended organizations, which includes MMHS. If the full Senate and House go along with the Conference Committee decision and the Governor does not veto the funding, we will have the matching money needed to proceed with the museum expansion.
We are grateful that so many of you took the time and effort to advocate to state legislators for funding culture,  music, art and museums in Mandarin, Jacksonville and all of Florida. I am sure the passion of our Board, members and friends had an impact on this decision to restore some of the funding that had been removed. Thank you so much. 
We will keep you informed of the next steps. 

Sandy Arpen
May Third Thursday Lecture is
Extra Special 
Ann Manry Kenyon - "A Life in Art"

Did you know that a nationally recognized portrait artist resides right here under the live oaks of old Mandarin? Tucked away at her home, steadily working her craft in her studio, Ann Manry Kenyon is an award-winning artist who has painted portraits for the likes of Congressman Ander Crenshaw, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, former Florida First Lady Columba Bush and, recently, Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama. She works in oil, watercolor and pastels, is sought after as a teacher in these media and is a faculty member of the Portrait Society of America.
Ann's work hangs in private collections and galleries around the country, including a wonderful portrait of Harriet Beecher Stowe that hangs proudly in the Mandarin Community Club, a historic structure that Mrs. Stowe helped build. She has also written a beautifully illustrated memoir about her fascinating life and her art, Memories, Method, and Mastery. This very special, 300 page, artistic,  all color, full of images coffee table book costs $125.00. It will be available for purchase at this event. 
Her images are stunning and her story is fascinating. She sums up some thoughts about her work: "What a joy it is to capture the likeness of another human being. It has been said that the eyes are the window through which we glimpse the soul. That's my favorite thing to paint - souls!"
Don't miss this evening - it promises to be visually dynamic, entertaining and informative.
This Third Thursday Lecture is on May 16, presented by the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society in partnership with and held at the Mandarin Community Club, located at 12447 Mandarin Rd. The Mandarin Community Club is hosting a special wine and cheese reception for Ann before the lecture at 6:15 pm with the lecture at 7 pm. The reception and the lecture are free and all are invited and encouraged to attend.
 To learn more about Ann Kenyon, click HERE

For several years, MMHS has participated in the Blue Star Museum program, but this summer we will host a special event in partnership with the Jacksonville Office of Blue Star Families. The event is scheduled for Saturday, July 20 from 9-4. On this day MMHS will honor the military community with a special event that features the Maple Leaf divers, traditional music of the era, a Union and Confederate camp and all the buildings open.

The 2019 Blue Star Museums program will begin on Saturday, May 18, 2019, Armed Forces Day, and end on Monday, September 2, 2019, Labor Day. It offers free admission at museums to military members all summer, but we are already free, so we just encourage them to come and discover us.

This  event in July will be open to everyone, but will be a special day for military families in particular as they learn about Mandarin's unique and fascinating history. It is a great way to get the word out to families about our special place here in Mandarin. Stay tuned for more information in the future.
Walter Jones Park Owlets!

Thank you to photographer Rick Strickland for documenting the park's Barred Owls and their two owlets as they left the nest and learned to fly. Rick took some amazing photos!


Frog Painting Event June 8
Sign-up now!

In May the Frog Man is busy, busy, busy catching up with his production of his famous critters. So no painting party in May, but there will be one in June.
Large frogs and squirrels are $20. There will also be some medium frogs and some little ones, but probably no turtles in June. We provide the paint, brushes, etc. Wear old clothes. Our tremendous gratitude to the Mandarin Frog Man - all proceeds are for the support of  Mandarin Museum programs and expansion.   
We paint  in the front yard of the museum and have a fun-filled morning of creativity and community spirit. We do ask that you please make a reservation so we'll know what to expect  - the best way to do that is to email us at and tell us how many critters you'd like to paint. If you can't email, please call and leave a message at 268-0784. And please, if you sign up and can not come, call us and let us know so we can release your critter to a walk-up person.   
Please check in between 9:30 and 10 to avoid a line. The painting lasts until about noon. It happens as planned unless it is raining, about to rain. If you are unsure, call us that morning at 268-0784. 
Bob and "Buddy" 
If you have walked the park or come to the museum in the last 6 months, you may have seen our back porch friends, Bob and Buddy. Bob winters in Mandarin with his daughter from November to May and he walks Buddy in the park nearly every day. Since Buddy is 15 years old, his steps are getting slower and he always wants to take a break and a snooze on the back porch. He headed back to New York State April 29.  
They will be missed by the regular volunteers at the museum, as these two have become part of the park and we look forward to seeing them and giving Buddy a little petting. Safe travels friends. 
Links to some interesting articles and history programs:

Folio Weekly article by Jennifer Melville on April 3 about the Maple Leaf and the divers! Click HERE.

A brand new Florida Frontiers TV program about World War I, featuring Marion Losco - Click HERE.

Florida Frontiers TV program about St. Augustine's Fort Mose - Click HERE.
Accessions Corner
What is in our Collection?

This month we feature the big sign that is on the floor of the Store and Post Office. Many people ask about it and we are fortunate that Andy Morrow once featured the history in a 1994 newsletter. This object was a gift to the museum by Rita Nicholl.

Here's the scoop:

The Stowe Lodge was not the home of the Stowe family, but a tea room that was open in the 1940s in the first floor of the Jack Nicholl  home, which was on property that had been owned by the Stowes. Mr. Nicholl's father, Harry F. Nicholl, was from England and apparently was responsible for recruiting some other English families to settle in Mandarin. On the 1880s map we have in the museum, it appears that Harry's home was further west on Mandarin Road.

Andy stated that no one seemed to remember exactly where the sign was located and we're unsure how long the Stowe Lodge was serving the public. If anyone out there knows....please contact us at 268-0784.
Looking Back on April
On April 2, we were proud to host the Rotary Club of Mandarin for an evening tour and sunset watch. After a rainy day, the sun came out and the clouds were beautiful when the sun set over the St. Johns. What a wonderful evening with our friends and neighbors from the Rotary. This group has given so much to Mandarin Museum and the entire community through the years of their philanthropy here in Mandarin. We are grateful for all they have done and thank them for a wonderful evening .
On April 8 we were graced with the presence of a group of Cub Scouts and their parents from Troop 473 - St. Joseph Catholic Church. We loved telling them the story of the Sisters of St. Joseph at the schoolhouse. What a sweet and interested group they were, learning about their community's history.


We had a visit from Ennis Davis. Many of you already are familiar with Ennis' on-line magazine called The Jaxson. He is a senior planner and, author and total history buff. He came to see the schoolhouse specifically and to help us learn about more resources that can help us build our African-American stories in Mandarin.

If you have not seen his work, check out both of these sites: and 


The 51st Annual Art Festival by the Mandarin Community Club happened on a beautiful Easter weekend. We were grateful to Brenda Councill for being at the Store and Post Office all day Saturday, talking to people about her art work  - also for selling over $500 of her Mandarin Series prints and donating all of it to the Museum Expansion Fund. Brenda now lives in North Carolina - learn more about her at

A special treat - on April 22 we enjoyed a visit by Roz Allen and Paul Landry from Maine and Vero Beach. They came for a visit because Harriet Beecher and Calvin Stowe were her great great grandparents! The Stowes' youngest daughter Georgiana was her great grandmother.

She had never been to Mandarin, the winter home of the Stowes from 1867-1884. We visited the Museum, the Community Club and the Church of Our Saviour - all sites that are connected with the Stowes. What an absolute delight they were. And, they went home with an original Mandarin Frog for their garden!

We had a great tour with students from Jacksonville Beach Elementary on April 26, who arrived just after a morning rain and brought sunshine with them from the Beaches!
A wonderful group of children!

Volunteer Bill Morrow, telling his stories to 4th graders in the Store and Post Office.

And to finish off a busy month, which was also National Volunteer Month,  we celebrated our volunteers with a gathering in the schoolhouse. We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful team of folks who give their time and talents to the community. THANK YOU ALL! And thank you to our fearless leader and Volunteer Coordinator, Paula Suhey, who keeps us all organized!

Artist William Trotter. Courtesy of author Kevin McCarthy
Mandarin Newsline  
  May edition
Continuing with the story of the Maple Leaf,  "Back in Time with Brett" by MMHS volunteer Brett Nolan features Part 2.  
Click HERE to see the story and the entire edition of the May Newsline
The Newsline allows us to share our events with the community. They are supported by advertisements, so please support those who support this wonderful free local paper.
John Kenning at the Art Festival

Thank you to Master Framer Jack Mayer and artist John Kenning for helping us with several framing projects lately. John, Jack and Gary Garrett operate a wonderful art store and framing shop in Miramar (North Florida Art Services and J. Gregory Fine Art - 3853 Hendricks Ave.) They are our go-to guys with any framing needs. John and Gary have both been extremely generous to MMHS over the years with donations of their original art. You can see Gary's Losco Winery painting with the Soldier's Story exhibit and John's Maple Leaf paintings in the museum and his Store and Post Office renderings in that historic building.

In gratitude to them for their generosity, we ask our friends to consider them for your framing or art purchases.

We also are grateful to the Mandarin Presbyterian Church Facilities team who replaced the walk and bridge from their parking lot to Mandarin Road. The church has been very generous to us for 15 years by allowing us to have overflow and special event parking in their lot. They are wonderful neighbors.

Several members of MPC Facilities team

First Saturday - May 4 - All Buildings Open - READ TIMES
In Walter Jones Historical Park - 1875 farmhouse, 1876 barn, Losco Winery  
are open from 10-2. 
ALSO - the historic Mandarin Store and Post Office will  be open at 12471 Mandarin Road (next to the Mandarin Community Club) from 10-2.
Mandarin Museum and the St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children will be open  from 9-4 as usual.
Thank you to Master Gardener volunteer Candace Barone for making this lovely sign that now is on the arbor of the Butterfly Garden.

 "Under the Oaks" Music Jam - May 5 
The  "Under the Oaks" music jam will take place on Sunday, May 5 from 2-4 in front of the Mandarin Museum, weather permitting. Players of all levels are invited to join in the song circle. Listeners are welcome as well. - just please bring a lawn chair.
The museum and schoolhouse will be open during this time for visitation.   
This event is co-sponsored by the North Florida Folk Network. - "Connecting Artists, Fans and venues in North Florida." CLICK HERE to view their website.   
Meet the Maple Leaf  Divers - May 18  
Keith Holland and SJAE divers are back in the museum May 18 from 12-4 to tell you all about their exploration of this National Historic Landmark shipwreck.
Maple Leaf divers and guests! 
    Mark your calendars
    • May 16 - Third Thursday Lecture - Mandarin resident  Ann Kenyon, renowned portrait artist and author.
    • July 20 - Special Blue Star Museum Day to honor Jacksonville's  military families
    • August 15 - Third Thursday Lecture - The St. Johns Riverkeeper
    • September 28 - Smithsonian Museum  Day
    • November 21 - Third Thursday Lecture - TBA
    • December 7 - Special 20th anniversary of the Winter Celebration in Mandarin - with special event honoring Pearl Harbor Day and WWII vets.
The Mandarin Museum and the Schoolhouse are 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 open from 10-2 on the first Saturday. Exceptions to this schedule are listed in the calendar above.

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.   
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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