January 2016 
Dear MMHS Members and Friends,

Thank you for being part of the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society in the past year. We have accomplished some amazing things due to the support of members, our volunteers and the community.  As 2015 leaves us, we celebrate what we were able to achieve.  Now we look forward to some exciting opportunities in 2016, including the Schoolhouse Grand Opening in the Spring.

We are very proud of what we have been able to do as an all-volunteer non-profit  organization. But we do need your help. We ask our current members to please renew your membership - you should have received an envelope in the mail in December. And, we are reaching out to people in the community who may not be members and asking you to become part of the team here at Mandarin Museum also.

Along with supporting the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society, membership also provides you with other benefits. All members receive a discount at our museum store. In addition, Mandarin Museum & Historical Society is a member group of the nationwide Time Travelers Program. This program offers MMHS members discounts in over 250 museums around the country. To learn more:

Growing volunteer support and financial contributions are essential for us to plan for a much-needed paid staff position and continue the work of our mission statement:
The Mandarin Museum & Historical Society shares the stories of Mandarin's history, culture and natural resources by providing engaging programs that educate, entertain and inspire.
We hope that you will seriously consider membership support.  If you are interested, please click here and it will take you to our website for membership and volunteer information under the "JOIN" tab. You may also pick up an envelope at the museum any Saturday. We are grateful to you for any level of support you can offer.  Help us make this the best year ever - TOGETHER!    

Volunteer Spotlight
Sheridan Brown

Sheridan Brown is the daughter of a principal.  While she might have dreamed of a career on Broadway, she was persuaded that a better choice was elementary education and school leadership. The persuasion came from her parents; her dad was a teacher/principal and football coach.
"My career as a teacher spanned 39 years.  It was a most rewarding and fulfilling journey," said Sherry who followed her father's path and became a teacher and administrator.

She is married to attorney John Crawford and they are the parents of one son who is married and lives in North Georgia.  She is enjoying retirement by volunteering at the Cummer, at OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Institute) at UNF,  WJCT and the American Cancer Society. And she still works in time to help MMHS with the schoolhouse! 

Sherry states that she came to the museum by way of "divine intervention". "I read an article in the Florida Times-Union.  The subject was the schoolhouse.  I was intrigued so I called Sandy Arpen," she said. During that phone call, Sandy enticed her with the story and "the rest is history."

Sherry has been very involved in the research for the schoolhouse, including the story of the Sisters of St. Joseph. She has been an active member of the research and exhibit development team  and she is putting together teaching points for the docents to use when giving school tours of the finished exhibit. She looks forward to sharing the stories of the schoolhouse when it opens for visitors sometime in the Spring of 2016.

When we invited Sherry to be our featured volunteer this month, she shared some memories of her early years of teaching. Those years in rural America were preparation for her future life as an administrator as they offered her a different perspective on "reading, writing and arithmetic."  That perspective is something she brings to what she is doing at the Museum, particularly regarding the Schoolhouse. And we are indeed very grateful to her for sharing her expertise, her thirst for knowledge and her passion with us.   
Mark your Calendars - Third Thursday Lecture - February 18
The Legacy of Stetson Kennedy
Stetson Kennedy - 2010
The mission of the Stetson Kennedy Foundation is "to do all that it can to help carry forward mankind's unending struggle for human rights in a free, peaceful, harmonious, democratic, just, humane, bounteous and joyful world, to nurture our cultural heritages, and to faithfully discharge our commitment of stewardship over Mother Earth and all her progeny."

Mr. Kennedy is known world-wide as an author, human rights activist and folklorist. His first book, Palmetto Country, appeared in 1942 as a volume in the American Folkways Series edited by Erskine Caldwell. Of it, folklorist Alan Lomax has said, "I very much doubt that a better book about Florida folklife will ever be written." Other books written by Kennedy include: The Klan Unmasked and Southern Exposure. According to the foundation's website, "During the 1950s, Kennedy's books, considered too incendiary to be published in the USA, were published in France by the existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre and subsequently translated into other languages." The Klan Unmasked chronicles Kennedy's infiltration and exposure of the Ku Klux Klan at a time when it was experiencing a resurgence in America.

Stetson Kennedy was born in Jacksonville in 1916 and passed away in 2011. For many years he lived in the Billard House, which was located at the site of the Billard Commemorative Park on Brady Road, and also at Beluthahatchee, his home in St. Johns County which is now a county park and is on the National Register of Literary Sites.
The Mandarin Museum & Historical Society presents Third Thursday Lectures quarterly in partnership with the Mandarin Community Club to educate the public about historical figures, general history and events in and around Mandarin, including the St. Johns River. It is held at the  Mandarin Community Club, which is located at 12447 Mandarin Road. Refreshments are at 6:30 pm with the presentation at 7:00 pm.

Learn more about Mandarin Museum activities at Also visit  the Mandarin Community Club website at and the Stetson Kennedy Foundation at

The Mandarin community has always been known for our citrus and our towering live oak trees. Unfortunately, in modern times, we have lost much of our beloved tree canopy to development.

So, we want to put out a call to each of you. We ask that you participate in Greenscape of Jacksonville's and Scenic Jacksonville's 2016 tree planting challenge - Jax Digs Trees. It's a citywide initiative to increase scenic beauty, create a healthier community by increasing Jacksonville's tree canopy and ensure the continuation of a vibrant, urban tree cover.

All you have to do is plant a tree in your yard and then post a photo of it on your Facebook page, challenging your Jacksonville friends to plant a tree also. And, if you'd like, share  to #jaxdigstrees to encourage others.

Let's do our part in Mandarin and get some trees planted for the next generation to enjoy.

For more information, click here.

Owen Poirier
Eagle Scout Project Benefits the Historic Store and Post Office

A huge THANK YOU to Owen Poirier and Troop 473.
Owen, the son of Erin and Steve Poirier, has an older brother Jake, who also completed an Eagle Scout service project that benefited the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society at Walter Jones Historical Park. So when it came time for him to select a community project, Owen asked MMHS if we had any needs. And we did. 
Owen is a member of Troop 473, sponsored by St. Joseph's Catholic Church. His project included cleaning, pressure washing and painting the building's front and back porches and also heavy trimming of bushes and overgrown trees. Several Scouts, adult leaders, and parents volunteered to assist Owen, who organized and led the effort. Now the building looks  welcoming and cared for once again.

We are grateful to Owen and his troop for taking on this much needed project for the benefit of the community. 
looking at this wonderful post called "Discovering the Essence of Old Mandarin" on by Ennis Davis. He did a great job! Beautiful photos.

Click here to view.
Schoolhouse Research
Task Force

Thank you to the fabulous group of folks who have researched, designed, built and critiqued the educational exhibits that will be created and placed in the schoolhouse. It is a very important and intensive job and they are all are committed to it.

Don't forget our regularly scheduled activities in January
"Music Under the Oaks"

A community jam where all are invited to play, listen, paint, or dance.

Due to expected weather that would be too cold for the instruments and listening comfortably, the jam will be suspended in January, February and March for a "Winter Pause."

It will begin again on Sunday, April 3 from 2-4 pm.
"Meet the Maple Leaf Divers"

 Dr. Keith Holland and SJAEI divers have agreed to continue monthly visits to Mandarin Museum in 2016.  These men  brought up  the Civil War artifacts from the muddy St. Johns River bottom. Artifacts not seen in Mandarin before are now on display.

Saturday, January 16 from noon - 4 at Mandarin Museum
Post Office open and "Yoga on the River"

The historic Store and Post Office is back on a regular schedule - the first Saturday of every month from 12-4. Please stop by on
 January 2 from 12-4.

Mark your calendars to join registered Yoga instructor, Karen Roumillat, on the Boardwalk in Walter Jones Park for a morning of gentle Yoga - all while gazing at the peaceful and beautiful St. Johns River.
Bring a mat and water.

Sunday, January 24 at 9 am

Winter Celebration was a big hit, despite blustery weather.

Here are photos of some of the folks who volunteered. We are sorry that we do not have one of each of you.

A huge thank you to every single person who made this event possible. It would not have happened without you.

We are excited that volunteers Toppy Carter and Cory Hutchcraft are putting together a short video about the celebration from photos they took. We will share it with you next month and will be adding it to our website.


UNDER THE OAKS MUSIC JAM - is taking a Winter "pause" due to winter weather, but will return the first Sunday in April - 2-4 pm

January 2 - Historic Mandarin Store and Post Office open - 12-4pm
January 11 - Annual Meeting 6pm at Mandarin Museum 
January 16 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers Day - 12-4pm
January 24 - Yoga on the River - Walter Jones Park Boardwalk - 9-10 am
February 6 - Historic Mandarin Store and Post Office open - 12-4pm 
February 18 - Third Thursday Lecture - Stetson Kennedy (by Sandra Parks)
February 20 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers Day 12-4pm
February 28 - Yoga on the River 9 am
March 5 - Historic Mandarin Store and Post Office open - 12-4pm AND Miss Aggie Day
March 19 - Meet the Maple Leaf Divers Day 12-4pm
March 26 & 27 - Easter Weekend - 28th Annual Mandarin Art Festival - MMHS will be at the Store and PO both days from 10-5.

Mandarin Museum (11964 Mandarin Road) is open every Saturday (except Dec. 24) from 9-4 in Walter Jones Historical Park .

The historic Mandarin Store and Post Office (12471 Mandarin Road) is open the first Saturday of the month from 12-4. 
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