Walter Jones Historical Park
July 20, 9 am – 4 pm

The Mandarin Museum and Historical Society is one of six museums in Jacksonville that are participating in Blue Star Museums for military personnel and their families this summer. Blue Star Museums is a collaboration among the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, the Department of Defense, and more than 2,000 museums across America to offer free admission from Memorial Day through Labor Day to the nation’s active-duty military personnel and their families, including National Guard and Reserve.

Since Mandarin Museum is always free, we have created a special event to welcome military visitors on Saturday, July 20. This event is in partnership with the Blue Star Families of Jacksonville organization. (As this is a public park, the general public is also invited to participate.)

This is an exciting opportunity for military families to visit and learn about some of Jacksonville’s military history, as well as rural life in old Florida. Activities planned for the day include:

🍊 Along with the Mandarin Museum, all four historic buildings in the park will be open for visitation: the 1898 St. Joseph’s Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children, the 1875 Webb/Jones Farmhouse, the 1876 Webb Barn, and the Losco Winery

🍊 Live old time music from the Civil War period

🍊 Civil War re-enactors presenting a simulated encampment for Union and Confederate foot soldiers with period tents, weapons, uniforms, and soldiers’ personal effects; the Union Navy will also be represented.

🍊 Meet and personally talk with Dr. Keith Holland and St. Johns Archaeological Expeditions divers, who recovered Civil War artifacts from the U.S. Army Troop Transport Maple Leaf. This shipwreck, which lies in the St. Johns at Mandarin Point, is a National Historic Landmark. The Mandarin Museum exhibits about 70 of these artifacts.

🍊 A second exhibit of special military interest is “A Soldier’s Story,” which focuses on the experiences of World War I, drawing on the personal letters and artifacts of a local resident, Pvt. Marion J. Losco, who died in France 101 years ago on July 31, 1918. An authentic and complete WWI uniform is part of this display, as well as personal objects that belonged to Pvt. Losco.

🍊 Blue Star Families of Jacksonville will be present at the event and will have special surprises for military families specifically.