Walter Jones Historical Park
September 21, 9 am – 4 pm

Mandarin Museum & Historical Society is participating in this 2019 Smithsonian Museum Day, a day designed to encourage people across the country to discover the wonderful museums in their own communities. At the Mandarin Museum, admission is always free, but on September 21, visitors will also receive the member discount on many museum store purchases, and all historic buildings in the Walter Jones Historical Park (11964 Mandarin Rd.) and the historic 1911 Mandarin Store and Post Office (12471 Mandarin Rd.) will be open for viewing from 10 am – 1 pm.

The theme for 2019 is “Smithsonian’s Year of Music.”  In honor of that, MMHS will be partnering with the North Florida Folk Network, who will host a special music festival this day from the front porch of the 1875 farmhouse. This will feature “old-time” traditional acoustic music played by musicians from the region.  Bring a lawn chair and park yourself in the breeze of the river in front of the farmhouse for a real treat. They will play from noon until 3 pm.

In the Mandarin Museum you can view exhibits that include: a special exhibit of artifacts from the Civil War recovered from the Union steamships Maple Leaf and Columbine; items related to Harriet Beecher Stowe, who wintered in Mandarin from 1867-1884; pottery of Mandarin artist Charlie Brown; and a special World War I exhibit honoring Mandarin resident Pvt. Marion Losco, who was killed in France in 1918. On this day Dr. Keith Holland and several Maple Leaf divers will be present to answer your questions about the ship and the artifact recovery. A gift shop of books, art and items related to local history is available in the museum, and it is the only place where you can purchase the Mandarin Frogs.

The historic 1898 St. Joseph’s Mission Schoolhouse for African-American Children presents the story of the Sisters of St. Joseph, who started a mission of education in 1868 for African-American children in the Mandarin area. The interpretive exhibits also honor the many honors African-American families of Mandarin who took advantage of the opportunity at this school and others like it in the south side of Duval County. Experience what a one-room schoolhouse would have been like at the turn of the 20th century and learn about the challenges that existed for the students and the teachers.

The historic 1875 Webb farmhouse will be open for tours, along with the Losco Winery and the 1876 Barn, all located within the farmstead area of the park. You may view the Wheeler Sawmill, the sugar cane grinder, the agricultural equipment in the barn and the wine making equipment in the winery. The farmhouse, furnished with items from the Walter Jones family and period pieces from the early part of the 20th century, allows visitors to visualize what life was like in our then sleepy little village called Mandarin. Life before electricity, before automobiles and paved roads, and before indoor plumbing! Life when it was peaceful and quiet and you knew all of your neighbors.

Civil War reenactors will display “In Search of Valor,” a salute to the common foot soldier of the American Civil War, both Union and Confederate. On display will be a simulated encampment complete with period tents, weapons, uniforms, and soldiers’ personal effects. We encourage you to come by and take a step back into history and learn what it was like to be a foot soldier in America’s most challenging period.