Mandarin Museum & Historical Society
April 2015
Dear friends of MMHS,

Happy Spring! As all things come anew in this season, let us reflect on our accomplishments and just take time to appreciate our beautiful community. Exciting things are happening due to the coming together of many people, ideas and passions. We are truly preserving Mandarin's heritage together and we need YOU!

Embrace the "Mandarin Experience"


Maple Leaf
The 150th Anniversary Year in Review

What can we possibly say? It was a stupendous year of honoring the Maple Leaf. This special anniversary exhibit and the events around it brought droves of people into the museum to learn about the ship, the cargo, the diving operation and the men that brought her story to life through the retrieval and preservation of priceless artifacts.

There is no way MMHS can adequately express our gratitude to Dr. Keith Holland and the St. Johns Archaeological Expeditions divers for their participation in all aspects of the events of this year. Let's face it, we would not be having any conversation about this Civil War treasure had it not been for the vision, passion, curiosity, tenacity  and courage of these men. Their support and presence at so many different events greatly enhanced our ability to make this one of the most successful programs ever.

We thank also the Florida Division of Historical Resources for caring for the artifacts since 1994 and  for loaning them to us and other institutions for the education of Florida's people about this important discovery. And thanks to UNF graduate student, Matt Jones, for taking this exhibit on as his project.

April 1st, marks 151 years since the Maple Leaf was sunk at Mandarin Point! She still holds most of her cargo and has  many, many more stories to tell in the future...IF anyone else ever takes on the challenge to retrieve and preserve more. We will see. But for now, our exhibit will continue due to popular demand and we will forever tell her stories. Our long-term dream is to expand the museum space to be able to have a much larger permanent presence of Maple Leaf artifacts. The divers have volunteered to continue "Meet the Diver Days" for a while longer and we will continue to celebrate the gift of the Maple Leaf in our community.

Enjoy remembering some of the highlights from the past year through these photos. They include: the exhibit development, the Anniversary Dinner, the Grand Opening, reprinting of the book, a visit from the Director of the US Army Museums, Dr. Holland's Historic Preservation Award, the Florida Humanities Council Teacher's program and the monthly Meet the Divers Days. What a year! 

Recent Eagle Scout Projects in Walter Jones Historical Park

Walter Jones Park has benefited greatly from many Eagle Boy Scout projects over the years. These projects, which are one of the requirements of earning the highest rank of Eagle Scout, are truly a gift to the community of Mandarin. We are very grateful to all of the scouts who have chosen the park as the place they wanted to improve or enhance with their efforts. The planning, coordinating, fund-raising, building and managing of these projects takes a great deal of time, effort and financial resources, as well as strong family and troop support. These young men have certainly earned their rank!

Below are two recent projects, now completed. Please enjoy them as you walk through the park.

The first one was completed by Jim Woodward, Troop 473, St. Joseph's Catholic Church. Jim was a frequent visitor to the park with his troop and his family. He was fascinated by a very large stump of a blown down oak tree in the park next to the picnic pavilion. The stump was interesting, but it had been overgrown with invasive fern and plants. His project was to clean out this entire area of invasive species, replant with plants that are native to Florida (including three cypress trees), and highlight the interesting stump as a place to sit down to enjoy the scenery or have a picnic. In addition, he made an animal proof garbage can cover for in front of the museum and renewed the sign board which holds museum and park information. He chose Walter Jones because he felt connected to it and knew his troop "was capable of accomplishing major projects."

Jim Woodward is standing, second from the left.

The second project was accomplished by Tony Giordano, Troop 139, San Jose Catholic Church. Tony took on the huge task of making animal proof covers for seven garbage cans that are located throughout the park. These can covers took several months to complete. What a difference they make in the park - you no longer have to view those ugly blue cans that were clearly an eyesore throughout the park. His can covers are well-built, natural looking, easy to access and will fit in the environment so much better. Tony became acquainted with the park because he is a regular fisherman on County Dock. So when it came time for him to choose a community project, he naturally thought of the beautiful park on the river that he loves.

Tony Giordano is standing in front wearing the green shirt.

Listen to interview about the Maple Leaf on  "Florida Frontiers"

If you have not been listening to Florida Frontiers, we encourage you to begin now. "The Weekly Radio Magazine of the Florida Historical Society is a weekly, half-hour radio program airing on public radio stations throughout the state. The program premiered in January 2009. The program is a combination of interview segments and produced features covering history-based events, exhibitions, activities, places and people in Florida. We explore the relevance of Florida history to contemporary society and promote awareness of heritage and culture tourism options in the state." (from FHS website)

This program is available  on WJCT - 89.9 on Mondays at 6:30pm or downloaded through the Florida Historical Society's website.

On April 1, Sandy Arpen and Dr. Holland will be taping a program for this series from the museum for public radio. In addition, we are very proud to inform you that MMHS was selected as one of three "pilot" TV programs that will be offered by FHS through public broadcasting networks around the state. We are very honored by this selection. 

Click here to listen to  programs from Florida Frontiers

St. Johns River Alliance includes MMHS on their
Youtube channel

We are so appreciative of the short film recently produced by the St. Johns River Alliance (SJRA) about MMHS and the Maple Leaf. This organization's mission "is to preserve, protect, promote, restore and celebrate the St. Johns River as an American Heritage River in recognition of its ecological, historic, economic, recreational and cultural significance, so that the public may gain a greater appreciation and understanding of the river's importance to the quality of life for current and future generations."  


We are proud to be included as one of the wonderful Youtube stories about historical and interesting places along our beautiful St. Johns. You may watch the video featuring Mandarin by clicking here.   


Please share with your friends and invite them out to see the museum and Walter Jones Historical Park.  Please learn about other special places along the St. Johns at 

Miss Aggie Award recipients: Karen Roumillat, Sandy Arpen and Virginia Barker
Miss Aggie Day 2015

Miss Aggie Day, on March 15, held a big surprise for me. Having been told that no nominations had been received this year, I arrived expecting to just have a nice time celebrating Miss Agnes Jones, visiting with friends and eating Moon Pies.

Little did I know and never did I expect that I would receive the Miss Aggie Award this year!

What an honor it is to be mentioned in the same breath as Miss Aggie and all the wonderful women who have received this award in years past. Mandarin is such a special, unique and important place and it is a privilege to serve this community in any way that I can. Thank you to all who attended this day and sent me kind notes. It really meant a lot to me and actually moved me to tears.

Sandy Arpen 
Don't forget Art Festival
Easter Weekend!

The Mandarin Community Club hosts the 47th Annual Art Festival on Community Club grounds. This wonderful event draws thousands of people to Mandarin every year to view and purchase a wide range of original art while enjoying this beautiful place we call home. 

Volunteer Maureen Orr will be in the Store and Post Office to great visitors on Sunday. Maureen always has a ready smile and lots of information. Please stop and speak with her and the other volunteers who will be minding the store.

We are open Saturday, April 4 and Sunday, April 5 from 10-5 at the Store. The Mandarin Museum will be open regular hours on Saturday only (9-4).

On Sunday, we will be holding the "Under the Oaks Music Jam" as usual - they will be entertaining visitors as they enjoy the event. We are expecting some acoustic music on Saturday as well. And, it has been rumored that Virginia Barker might have a live bunny or chicken for children to see and learn about. 

Please park at Mandarin Presbyterian Church (across from Walter Jones Park on Mandarin Rd.) or Alberts Field (at the corner of Brady Rd. and Orange Pickers Rd.) and take the free shuttle to the festival. The church lot will not be available until after their Easter services on Sunday.There is no parking at the club on these days.

For more information, click here. 

We are making progress - the roof is on the schoolhouse and the pilings are ready!!!

Bob Nay, MMHS Board member, volunteer and reenactor will be present at this event, representing MMHS. It looks like a great family activity, presented by the Jacksonville Public Libraries.

Mark your calendar for this unique event convening artistic, cultural, and environmental organizations from across Jacksonville!

Community First Credit Union presents Art in the Park
May 2,  2015
10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Hemming Park in Downtown Jacksonville FREE + OPEN to all

Brought to you by The Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville



MMHS will be participating.

April 4 & 5 - MMHS participates in 47th Annual Mandarin Art Festival - acoustic music jam will take place Sunday from 2-4 -
April 11 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers Day - 12-4
April 11 - Civil War Program for children at South Mandarin Library - presented by the library
April 16 - "Laughs for Charity" - Rotary Club of Mandarin fundraiser to benefit MMHS - sold out
April  26 - Yoga on the River - 9
April 26 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers Day - 12-4 
May 2 - "Art in the Park" at Hemming Park
May 3 - "Under the Oaks" acoustic jam at Store and Post Office 2-4
May 9 Meet the Maple Leaf Divers 12-4
May 21 - Third Thursday Lecture - "O Say Can You See........ T he Birth of our National Anthem ... The Rest of the Story"
May 24 - Yoga on the River - 9
May 24 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers 12-4
June 7 - "Under the Oaks" acoustic jam at Store and Post Office 2-4
June 13 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers 12-4
June 28 - Yoga on the River - 9
June 28 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers 12-4
August 20 - Third Thursday Lecture - Mary Atwood, "Historic Homes of Florida's First Coast"
September 26 - Smithsonian "Museum Day LIVE!"
November 19 - Third Thursday Lecture - St. Johns River Alliance
December 5 - 16th Annual Winter Celebration in Walter Jones 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 the 1st and 3rd Sundays of each month from 1-3 (open till 4 on music jam days.)

Follow us on Facebook. You do not need to be a member of Facebook to view our public page. Click here to check it out.   

"Mandarin on the
St. Johns"

Mary Graff ended her classic book about Mandarin with these words, which still hold so true today:

"Mandarin keeps like a charm the richness of tradition. Though much has changed, there is a timelessness in the giant oaks with their weird enhancement of moss; and the wide expanse of the St. Johns measures its tides alike in the record of the past and present."

If you have yet to read it, pick one up at the Art Festival.  
You'll be glad you did.

Mandarin Museum & Historical Society | 904-268-0784 |
11964 Mandarin Road
Jacksonville, FL 32223