May  2018 
Dear MMHS Members and Friends,

The Rotary Club of Mandarin's "Laughs for Charity" event in April was a huge success. A sold-out crowd of about 340 people attended, all in support of  the Mandarin Museum Expansion Project as well as Polio Plus and other local non-profits. The folks who came, the auctions, the food, the comedy show - everything really - made for a wonderful evening!

We are very grateful to the Rotary Club for selecting us as the primary recipient of the funds raised this year. We have not heard yet what the final award amount will be, but it will be a major gift to this important building expansion. Our partnership with the men and women of the Mandarin club is very important to us. They have been supportive over the years with other projects as well, including the schoolhouse restoration and school tours for under - served schools in 2015.

Please join us in thanking every Rotarian you know for their long-term support of the community of Mandarin through their service and philanthropy. We especially want to acknowledge those who provided leadership to this event: President Ken McCauley; Fundraiser Chair and President-Elect John Hart; Speaker Chair Rob Meek; and Ticket Chairman, Jim Register.

Thanks also to Dr. Keith Holland for giving an inspiring talk to the Mandarin Rotary about the importance of telling the Maple Leaf story at Mandarin Museum, to Fred Pozin and the staff at the Ramada Inn and Comedy Zone, to all the business sponsors, auction item donors and every person who bought a ticket and supported the event. It truly takes a village ....


Sandy Arpen
Kathy and her dog Tanner

Third Thursday Lecture
May 17
The Wilderness of North Florida's Parks
We are so happy to welcome Jacksonville artist Kathy Stark who wrote this family-friendly exploration of the extensive system of natural parks in North Florida. Her book The Wilderness of North Florida's Parks combines Stark's lush and expansive watercolor paintings with sketches, notes, historical facts and maps to create a work that is a both a guide and handbook, as well as a tribute, to the great unspoiled stretches of the region. She included 60 parks within an hour of Jacksonville, including Walter Jones Historical Park, Mandarin Park and Alpine Groves. 
The Wilderness of North Florida's Parks was published in partnership with the Timucuan Parks Foundation , with a portion of the proceeds supporting that nonprofit, which advocates for North Florida's parks.
Kathy will give a very visual PowerPoint presentation using her painting images and photos from her adventures in our parks, highlighting information most people don't know about the various parks. She will touch on the history contained within them and will offer tidbits about how she as an artist goes about painting the large scale watercolors.
She will bring a print of her large project map to show as well as a few original park sketchbook journal pages and park watercolors. Kathy's book will be for sale before and after the event, and she offers a chance to win a small print when you buy a book. And, she will happy to sign books she sells as well as ones you have already purchased somewhere else.
Third Thursday Lectures are presented by the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society in partnership with and at the Mandarin Community Club, 12447 Mandarin Rd. Refreshments begin at 6:30, with the lecture at 7. It is free and all are invited and encouraged to attend and invite a friend.   
MAY 12

May's Frog Painting is from 10-noon on May 12 in front of the museum. Come on out and make your very own special critter for your porch, garden or pool deck.

You need to make a reservation first though, please - just call us at 268-0784 and leave a message or email us at and tell us how many you'd like to paint. Frogs are $20 and turtles are $24. We provide the paint, brushes etc. Wear old clothes. It is lots of fun and thanks to the Frog Man, all proceeds are for the support of  Mandarin Museum. 

These are some beauties from March's event.


Since we are already free, as a Blue Star Museum 2018 we will provide a member discount on books in the Gift Shop for active-duty military personnel and their immediate families from the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend (May 26, 2018) through Labor Day (September 3, 2018).

Help us spread the word - tell your military friends that we are here and we have two very interesting military exhibits and that we welcome them. 
Why I Love Mandarin - Beverly  Clarke

This month we would like to feature Board member, Beverly Clark. Beverly learned about MMHS when we had the Schoolhouse Grand Opening two years ago in April. She immediately became a schoolhouse and museum volunteer before she began to serve on the Board in 2017. This schoolhouse is a special place for her and here is her story: 
"There are many historically interesting sights and places in Mandarin: the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society, the dock on County Dock  Road, and  the African Methodist Episcopal Church, to name a few. However, one of my favorites is the old schoolhouse situated in Walter Jones  Park, another historic site.
I was especially drawn to the schoolhouse for 2 reasons: one, it reminds me of my very first experience with school in Jamaica, where I was born and raised. You see, I attended a one-room schoolhouse for pre-school and I sat on a wooden bench and wrote on slates using chalk, pretty similar to some of the items in the schoolhouse. 
The second reason I chose the schoolhouse is that in my mind's eye I can see the happy and excited little children in their over-sized clothes as they eagerly wait to be taught by the Sisters. They were apparently unconcerned with their appearance or the distance they had to travel to attend school.  

I love Mandarin and moved here because it has enough of the qualities of a city that I like, as well as that country feel that I was accustomed to growing up in my native Jamaica."

Thank you to Olis Garber for taking this photo. Olis also took the beautiful tree canopy shot for the Mandarin Art Festival poster this year and has made prints of the photograph available - click here for more information.
Looking Back on April

The 50th Annual Art Festival  of the Mandarin Community Club was an exciting and beautiful weekend. MMHS was in the Store and Post Office all weekend and enjoyed high traffic and lots of great discussions. As a special treat for the festival, we had a small display to honor two of the Mandarin artists who were founding leaders of the festival in 1968 - Charlie Brown and Memphis Wood.  
Dr. Betty Bennett held a book-reading of her children's book Why Do I Love Mille? followed by an interactive discussion about bullying, on April 14 at the schoolhouse. The children who attended offered some great insights and shared openly.  And parents and children left with useful information to help them deal with this growing problem in today's world.

Long-time Mandarin resident and former Times-Union political cartoonist Ed Gamble was the illustrator for the book and joined Dr. Bennett for a book signing after the event. 

Thanks to volunteers Betty Taylor  and George DeMarino, the Butterfly Garden and the Harriet Beecher Stowe Garden have been cleaned and replanted for summer. This is a labor of love and we are grateful to them for their faithful service. 


Don't you want to join in the fun??? Email Paula Suhey at and she'll get you set up to volunteer. 
Memorial Day 2018

Memorial Day is so often overlooked because of our hustle/bustle lifestyles and the over-whelming demands of work and family. So we'd like to remind you to think about those who have died in the service of their country on May 28. Stop by the Mandarin Cemetery where Board member Bob Nay will have the flags flying on identified graves of anyone who served. And if you have a loved one there in a grave that is not marked for service, call and let us know who and where it is and Bob will place a flag there.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the "War to End All Wars"- World War I. It also marks 100 years since Mandarin farmer Marion Joseph Losco became a soldier, went to France and never came home. If you haven't seen our exhibit that honors him, please come by any Saturday and take some time to read about him and to think of his loss on that battlefield two weeks past his 25th birthday. And think of his family when they received this telegraph - with his  name spelled incorrectly and received well after the war was over.

  Trip to Hartford

Thanks to Cathy Sugrue for organizing and leading a group of fourteen friends of MMHS to Hartford CT, April 26-29. The primary purpose of the trip  was to visit the Stowe Center, Mark Twain home and the world-class Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art. The best way to share is with photos - sorry there are no captions. The domed building is the CT Capital, the grey house is the Stowes' and the big brick one is Mark Twain's (her next door neighbor). Interiors are of the Stowe House and the painting and flowers are at the Wadsworth.

Our thanks to the wonderful staff at the Stowe Center: Director Katherine Kane, Archivist  Beth Burgess and our guide Rodrigo, all who planned, developed and created the wonderful new exhibits for the renovated spaces, and all associates who staffed the front desk and shop. Everybody made us feel so welcomed - Beth even pulled out the Mandarin-specific objects for us see. That made it so special.

If you ever get a chance - visit Hartford. We had a wonderful time and learned so much! For more information about the Stowe Center click HERE.




  Meet the Divers Day     
The monthly "Meet the Maple Leaf Divers" day
 at Mandarin Museum in Walter Jones Historical Park. 
 Saturday, May 19 - 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.
Historic Store and Post Office Closed for repairs
The historic 1911 Mandarin Store and Post Office is currently undergoing repairs and painting. It will be open again on Saturday, June 2 from 12-4  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 Jam


The next monthly "Under the Oaks" music jam will take place on May 6 at Walter Jones Historical Park from 2-4, WEATHER PERMITTING! 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.  This event is co-sponsored by the North Florida Folk Network.


  • May 5:  Store and Post Office - CLOSED FOR REPAIRS AND PAINTING
  • May 6: "Under the Oaks" music jam, 2 pm - 4 pm
  • May 12: Frog Painting, 10 am - 12 pm
  • May 17: Third Thursday Lecture, 6:30 pm - 8 pm at Mandarin Community Club
  • May 19: Meet the Maple Leaf Divers, 12 pm - 4 pm
  • June 2: Store and Post Office open, 12 pm - 4 pm
  • June 3: "Under the Oaks" music jam, 2 pm - 4 pm
  • June 16: Meet the Maple Leaf Divers, 12 pm - 4 pm
  • July 1: "Under the Oaks" music jam, 2 pm - 4 pm
  • July 7: Store and Post Office open, 12 pm - 4 pm
  • July 21: Meet the Maple Leaf Divers, 12 pm - 4 pm
  • September 22:  Smithsonian "Museum Day Live" event
  • December 1: 19th Annual Winter Celebration in Walter Jones Historical Park

Mandarin Museum and the St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children  are open every Saturday from 9-4 in Walter Jones Historical Park . (11964 Mandarin Road)

The Mandarin Store and Post Office (12471 Mandarin Road)  is open from 12-4 on the first Saturday of every month, except it is CLOSED FOR REPAIRS IN MAY. School tours and adult group tours are scheduled during the week by appointment. Call 268-0784 or email us at
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Horace Glass paid a surprise visit to the museum in 2016 - seen here with volunteer Connie Hendricks.
A Sense of Community
While preparing the Store and Post Office for a major paint job this week, I picked up a browned and fragile and undated copy of the old "Mandarin Weekly Advertiser." I assume it was from the late 1970s or early 80s when Horace and Jody Glass had their office and historical objects in the Store and PO building. They felt the need to preserve the history here and were very active. They produced a wonderful paper full of stories, community events and local ads. There was an article in this one called "A Sense of Community" and I'd like to share excerpts of it:

"How does one define community? Seldom can it be done in terms of fixed geographic boundaries...still less does it have to do with "writ-on-paper" things like municipal charters, voting districts, school districts, census tracts or postal zones...

Community is rather something which exists in people's minds and hearts - it is above all, a sense of belonging. Thus when any of us speak of the Mandarin community, we are speaking of everybody who feels themselves a part of it, sharing its historic past, bustling present and promising future."

Almost 40 years later, even with the enormous growth that has taken place, we still feel that important sense of community in Mandarin. Mandarin is and will always be a "special and magical" place. We hope that we, at Mandarin Museum & Historical Society help create that "sense of belonging" for you.

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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