Happy 450th birthday, St Augustine!
Established in 1565 when Spanish explorer Pedro Menendez de Aviles arrived with 800 colonists, St Augustine is America’s first city. Tapestry – the Cultural Threads of First America is the Commemoration signature exhibition that shares the story of how three intertwining cultures – Spanish, African, and Native American – came together to form the foundation of the American culture.
This beautiful exhibit features authentic objects, original documents and interactive elements that can be enjoyed by all ages. One of the featured items is a large-scale replica of the San Pelayo, Menendez’s flagship – a gift from the city of Aviles to St Augustine in honor of the celebration. There is also a citywide passport program that connects visitors with important historical sites throughout St Johns county.
The exhibit is FREE and located at the Visitor Information Center, 10 West Castillo Drive in St Augustine. For more information, call 904.805.1053 or visit their website.
February has been a busy month for the Mandarin Museum and the Mandarin Community Club as the oldest existing one room schoolhouse was moved from a private location to its new home on the grounds of the Mandarin Historical Park. The schoolhouse was built in 1889 as part of a mission established by the Sisters of St Joseph to educate the freed blacks after the Civil War and was originally located on the property of the present St Josephs Catholic Church on Loretto Road.
One room Schoolhouse at the Mandarin Historical Park
The next step is restoration, and to date over 90% of the funds needed have been raised. When completed, the schoolhouse will be open to the public and will contain exhibits about the story of this schoolhouse and the education of African-Americans post Civil War to the mid 1950s.
We are grateful to our two Mandarin community organizations, City Councilman Matt Schellenberg and the City Of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department for this team effort. Look for updates in future articles. It’s not too late to be a part of this community project. Help is needed with cleaning, painting and minor repairs; and monetary donations are always appreciated. If interested, please call the Museum at (904) 268-0784.
The Maple Leaf was a luxury cruise vessel, commissioned into service as a Union cargo supply ship during the Civil War. On April 1, 1964 the ship struck a submarine torpedo in the St. Johns River and sank off the coast of Mandarin Point.
Steve Michaelis & Keith Holland outside the Mandarin Museum
Finding and retrieving the Maple Leaf had been a lifetime dream of Dr. Keith Holland, who with several friends founded St Johns Archaeological Expeditions Inc. After days of searching, the divers located the ship under 8 feet of silt and recovered over 3000 objects. They relinquished their rights to the artifacts to keep the collection intact.
Now, through the end of the year, you can view the collection at the Mandarin Museum at the Walter Jones Historical Park on Mandarin Road. Come on Sunday, August 17th or Saturday, August 30th between 11:00 and 4:00 to meet several of the divers. Hearing their stories about finding the ship, the difficulty of working with the silt and debris, and the steps necessary to preserve the artifacts, truly bring this exhibit to life!
The National Park Service has said the Maple Leaf is the “most important repository of Civil War artifacts ever found”, and the wreck has been designated as a National Historic Landmark.
Just 5 more days to see Picasso Art & Arena at the newly renovated St. Augustine Visitor Center. The collection is on display for the first time in the United States and consists of graphic art, illustrated books and ceramics by Pablo Picasso.
Picasso had an answer for those who find modern art difficult to understand: “The world today doesn’t make sense, so why should I take pictures that do?”
Another of his quotes: “It took me four months to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.”
Much of this exhibit centers on the theme of bullfighting, one of Picasso’s favorite sports. The displays are beautifully arranged and suitable for families as well as for the art connoisseur. What a wonderful opportunity to see the works of one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century!
If you go: The St. Augustine Visitor Center is located at 10 W. Castillo Drive. Exhibition hours are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm through Sunday, August 11, 2013. There is a small entrance fee. For more information, call 904.825.1000.
Here are some more photos from Tonca’s 47th birthday party Saturday, July 13th at the Museum of Science and History in Jacksonville, Florida. Tonca is a snapping alligator turtle who was rescued from a drainage ditch in Mandarin in 1998, and has enjoyed living at the MOSH museum ever since.
Tonca’s Birthday Cake – for human’s only!
Tonca arrives at the party!
Looks like Tonca has fallen asleep…
Time for Tonca’s annual examination
He weighed 174 lbs!
The party’s over
Tonca is glad to return to his home in the nature pond.
Tonca is a beloved snapping alligator turtle at Jacksonville’s Museum of Science and History (MOSH,) and today is his 47th birthday! Tonca has been at the museum since 1994 when he was rescued from a drainage ditch in Mandarin. Most of the time, Tonca swims happily in the natural pond at the museum, but each year on his birthday, Tonca is lifted out of the pond for his party.
Festivities last from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm and include donuts from Dunkin Donuts (for the people – not Tonca who is on a strict diet!). The highlight of the day will be at 1:30 when Tonca is hoisted from the pond, is weighed and receives his physical examination.
More information is on the MOSH website. Update – Here is a picture taken today. More pictures will follow!
Tonca arrives at his Birthday party
Yikes! Dinosaurs have also returned to the Museum of Science & History. Travel back in time 65 million years in this interactive Be the Dinosaur:Life in the Cretaceous exhibit. State of the art video game technology takes you back 65 million years in time and even allows you to take control of your very own dinosaur.
There are other dino-centered activities, including family dino day, a dino-tastic camp, lectures and more. And while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the Planetarium, where the current show is Sea Monsters. More information at www.themosh.org.
A T-Rex named Sue
Photo taken at the Museum of Science and History (MOSH) in Jacksonville, Florida
The Cummer Museum is a place of beauty, a place that restores the soul. The Cummer was established in 1961 when art collector and garden enthusiast Ninah Cummer donated her riverfront home and art collection to the city of Jacksonville to be used as a museum. Since that time, the Cummer has expanded its original collection of 60 pieces to almost 5,000 works of art.
There are many ways to experience the Museum and Gardens. Take a docent led tour, hear music in the historic gardens, attend a lecture, or take an art class. Strolling through the various rooms, you will find world class art spanning from 2100 B.C. through the 21st century.
One popular event is the annual Garden Month, coming in March and offering outdoor concerts and community events. Also popular is the classical concert series held in the intimate Cummer Auditorium. Spaces fill quickly for these, so make your reservations early.
Information about the Museum as well as a calendar of events may be found at the Cummer website. See you at the Cummer!