June 2021
Dear friends,

Can you believe it? FINALLY! We are all so excited that ground has been broken on the expansion. Footers are being built and soon we'll see a structure developing.

Our contractor Bob White of R.G. White Construction has been so patient and I know he was also relieved to finally start the long-awaited project. Unfortunately costs for materials has increased over the pandemic.

We are very grateful to our Councilman, Michael Boylan, for his commitment of $10,000 from his district park funds to help with the costs of the expansion. This was indeed a blessing and it takes the pressure off after a long and difficult year of worrying about the project. Thank you Councilman Boylan for your support.

The City's Public Buildings Dept. is also in the process of pressure washing the three white buildings. The museum looks so much better. Thank you!

Stay tuned. We'll give updates monthly in the newsletter.

Sandy Arpen

Miss Aggie Day

The weather and the outpouring of support from family, friends and colleagues could not have been any better for the long-postponed Miss Aggie Awards for 2020 at the Mandarin Store and Post Office. Recipients Wanda Bosworth and Sam Folds received this honor for their lifetime of contributions to the community of Mandarin, with the same giving hearts as Miss Agnes Jones.

Wanda is in the back row of the posed group picture, wearing the beautiful hat, surrounded by friends, most from the Mandarin Garden Club, one of the many organizations that has benefited from the generous volunteerism of Wanda.

Sam is shown here delighting the audience with wonderful stories of his days as a youngster working for Miss Aggie at this very store. Sam, too has given more hours than one can count through his involvement with community organizations, including the Rotary Club of Mandarin, the Church of Our Saviour and the Mandarin Cemetery Association.

Every person in Mandarin should be grateful for the gifts of service of these two residents...for the benefit of all.

Part II - The Life and Legacy of Harriet Beecher Stowe
We are happy to tell you that the Blue Star Families organization is continuing with another presentation about Harriet Beecher Stowe. Earlier this year MMHS and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cinncinnati presented information about her life when she lived in Ohio and Florida. This presentation will fill in the gaps, of Maine and Connecticut. These Zoom presentations are free and open to all.

"Blue Star Families of Dayton & Southwestern Ohio and Blue Star Families of Jacksonville cordially invite you to attend Part II of our series on The Life and Legacy of Harriet Beecher Stowe. As we continue our discussion, we are excited to introduce you to the Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Brunswick, Maine, the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center in Hartford, Connecticut, and Dr. Roshaunda Cade.

Dr. Cade got to know Harriet during her academic journey and the crafting of her dissertation titled, Minstrel Passing: Race Change, Citizenship, and Motherhood in 1850s America. During our conversation, she will share with us highlights of Harriet's life that captured her attention, surprised her, and more. 

In honor of Harriet's 210th Birthday on June 14th, attendees will have a chance to win a variety of prizes!"

Sunday, June 13th
Virtual - Zoom

Register here: to receive the link to the meeting.

P.S.: This public art painting is in downtown Jacksonville!
Reopening continues

Thanks to the dedication of our volunteer staff, we are continuing to open, still slowly, but steadily.
Pictured here are three volunteers who served in May: Paul Ghiotto (sitting) and from l to r: Ron Ferster (visiting), Roger Sallas, Dan Maxey.

The June schedule of openings is:

June 12 from 10-2: Webb/Jones Farmhouse, Losco Winery, St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children and 1876 Barn in Walter Jones Historical Park. Gift Shop open on the front porch of the Mandarin Museum in the park.

June 12 from 10-12: There is also a frog painting party, but it is FULL. Email mandarinmuseum@bellsouth if you are interested in the July Frog Painting on July 10. Be sure to tell us how many people are in your group and whether they want to paint a frog, turtle or squirrel.

June 26 from 10-2: Webb/Jones Farmhouse, Losco Winery, St. Joseph's Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children and 1876 Barn will be open in Walter Jones Historical Park, as well as the Gift Shop. AND the 1911 Mandarin Store and Post Office will be open these hours at 12471 Mandarin Rd. as well.

THANK YOU to the
Community Foundation for Northeast Florida
Last month, we expressed our gratitude about receiving a $2000 Small Organizations grant to be used for the development of the new "Untold History of Black Mandarin" exhibit.

However, it was not made clear that this grant is from funds provided by the Delores Barr Weaver Grassroots Grants Endowment at The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida. We are grateful for this generosity.
Schoolhouse cleanup and Memorial Day Flags

Thanks to Volunteer Coordinator Paula Suhey and volunteers (L to R) Barbara Slade, Janet Shelfer, Joanne Bellovin and Dale Zimmerman for coming out May 29 to get the school building ship-shape for it's first opening since the pandemic began.

We are excited to reopen it on Saturday June 12 from 10-2.

And thanks also to J.R. Rutherford, Joe Walsh, Bob Nay and Sandy Arpen for placing flags in Mandarin Cemetery for Memorial Day.
Volunteer Spotlight
Patrick Plumlee

Patrick Plumlee is a native Texan who moved to Florida in 1983. He has been a member of the Museum's Board of Directors since 2015.  He lives in the Loretto area near St. Joseph's Church with his wife Laura D'Alisera and their two rescue cats Chloe and Jynx.
Patrick has an undergraduate degree in government from the University of Texas and an MA from George Washington University. He completed his doctorate at Rice University, and was a faculty member at Southern Methodist University before joining the University of North Florida in 1983. At UNF, in addition to being a regular faculty member, he served as the chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration, and as Director of the Master of Public Administration graduate program.
Patrick met Sandy and Tracey Arpen through a shared interest in music and public affairs. Sandy introduced Patrick to the Mandarin Museum, which he had never visited, and he quickly became an enthusiastic docent.
Around the same time, well-known local musician Ron Johnson had partnered with the North Florida Folk Network (NFFN) to start a monthly "Music Under the Oaks” jam where acoustic musicians would meet in the front of the museum to play on Sunday afternoon once a month. When Ron later passed away, Sandy suggested that Patrick take over the leadership of the program. Since that time (in late 2015), Patrick has been organizing and facilitating one of the most popular aspects of life at Water Jones Park – a monthly mini-music festival that the public can attend free of charge under the shade of the old trees.
Patrick is also one of our regular docents for school tours to the Museum. He enjoys getting the opportunity to share his interest in the fascinating stories of Mandarin history, including the wreck of the Maple Leaf and the Walter Jones farm. At this time, he is participating, as are all the Board members, in a variety of projects associated with a complete revamping of the Museum’s exhibits to take advantage of new space offered by the physical expansion of the Museum building. This will include an exciting new exhibit for the Maple Leaf story and artifacts.
Patrick's love of history and his experience as an educator has made him an enthusiastic board member and docent. He is eagerly anticipating the day when the current expansion is complete and there is additional space and new exhibits to share the stories of Mandarin, including the long-neglected history of Black Americans in the area.
Patrick appreciates the other board members and docents he serves with, all of whom have brought extensive capabilities, skills and energy to the complex demands of running and constantly improving every aspect of the Mandarin Museum. But, as the Museum expands, Patrick invites others in the community to step forward and donate time and talent to the many tasks required to keep the Museum a vital and vibrant part of our shared heritage.

Note: this portrait of Patrick was taken by photographer Olis Garber for MMHS.

Paula Suhey, Volunteer Coordinator
Announcing a new and very special project
If you attended the 2018 Mandarin Art Festival at the Mandarin Community Club, you will remember seeing Olis and Jo Garber with a selection of his photographs, including this one of Brady Rd. That image was taken specifically for MCC to be used on their event poster that year, and it is a beautiful image that highlights the canopy of oaks that we all love.

Well, as a special 2021 project, Olis is going to photograph for MMHS all of the historic structures and views in Mandarin that remain. This will create a collection of professional photographs that will capture Mandarin in this year for archival recording purposes. These photos will also be exhibited, some will be used in the Arcadia book we are writing and they may sometimes be compared to photos from the past. It is so exciting because there are so many ways to use these images.

This is such a gift to the community! We can't thank Olis enough for volunteering to do this for us.

Check out his website to view some of his amazing work. He has taken incredible nature photographs as well as beautiful portraits and wedding photos. Do yourself a favor and take time to look at all the photos in the "Projects" tab. Also, you can view some of the shots he took of our board members under the "Portraits" tab.

And if you ever need a professional photographer - give him your business and thank him for his generosity to the community.

Mandarin Newsline

The June 2021 edition of the Mandarin Newsline is now online.

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. To read the entire Newsline click HERE and then click Digital Editions at the top of the page and then the June 2021 "Mandarin Newsline" link.

Beauty in the Spring

Surely everyone has been enjoying the beautiful magnolias that have been bursting into bloom. They are everywhere in Mandarin and you can easily spot their majestic and large white blossoms against the trees' shiny bright green leaves.

This was one of Harriet Beecher Stowe's favorite flowers - so much so that she wrote a chapter in Palmetto Leaves entitled "Magnolia Week." She referred to them as "white princesses." And...she painted several paintings of magnolia blossoms.

Look for them!

Reminder for members

Now that many museums are reopening, don't forget that being a member of MMHS gives you discounts at other museums in the Southeast through the SEMC Reciprocal Program. Take your MMHS membership card to any of the museums listed HERE and some discount is applied to entry fees or gift shop sales. At MMHS, since we are always free, you receive a discount on most books in our shop.

We are calling for more volunteers!

We always need more volunteers, as they are the backbone of our organization. This becomes even more important as we start reopening and hoping to have the buildings open even more.

If you would like more information CLICK HERE or email Paula Suhey, Volunteer Coordinator at and she will give you a call and tell you all about the opportunities we have. 

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Thank you to our community partners

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