Mandarin Museum is delighted to present Our Mandarin Neighbors, a four-part series featuring residents from the Mandarin community whose poignant stories highlight our rich diversity.

THURSDAY, MAY 16, 2024

May’s Third Thursday Lecture continues our series, “Our Mandarin Neighbors.” Featuring Chef Dennis Chan of Blue Bamboo, guests will enjoy a taste of some of his popular menu items. In addition, Chef Dennis will present his family’s story, their history of feeding Jacksonville and the Mandarin community since the 1930s, and the blended cultural traditions that inspire him today.

Refreshments begin at 6:30 PM, program begins at 7:00 PM. Admission is free.

Third Thursday Lectures are presented by the Mandarin Museum & Historical Society in partnership with and held at the Mandarin Community Club, located at 12447 Mandarin Road

Thank you to our generous sponsors for supporting Our Mandarin Neighbors.


April 18, 2024

Since the 1970s, Mandarin has experienced rapid growth. Long gone is its rural nature – the community is now solidly suburban. Many longtime residents lament this change in character, pace, and scenery.

Mandarin Museum’s Executive Director, Brittany Cohill, explores the ways in which Mandarin’s fate is representative of national trends in housing and commercial development since the end of World War II. Newcomers to Mandarin – most a part of Generation X and the Millennial Generation – inherited these trends that influenced their settlement in suburban communities.

Despite calling Mandarin home for 22 years, Cohill is considered one of these newcomers by Mandarin natives. As part of “Our Mandarin Neighbors” theme, she will tell her family’s story against the backdrop of historical events, and locate her move to Mandarin within its context.

March 21, 2024

Judge Davis grew up in Jacksonville and graduated from a segregated Douglas Anderson High School. Coming of age during the 1950s and ’60s Black struggle for civil rights, Davis felt strongly he could make a difference by studying and practicing law. After serving as a naval officer in the Vietnam War, he graduated with his law degree from FSU. He worked for the Justice Department in Washington, D.C. before entering private practice. In 1992, Florida Governor Lawton Chiles appointed Davis to the Duval County Circuit Court, making Judge Davis just the second Black circuit court judge in Northeast Florida.

February 15, 2024

Longtime Mandarin residents Irene Jaffa and her son, Andrew, shared their family’s harrowing story of Holocaust survival and immigration to the United States at the end of WWII. This presentation was in partnership with the LJD Jewish Family & Community Services.

ARTIST BRENDA COUNCILL: Celebrating 50 Years
November 9, 2023

With a career spanning 50 years, Councill made a name for herself in Jacksonville with her popular series of limited edition prints and drawings of historic Mandarin homes and sites. Since, she has explored diverse mediums including painting, sculpture, and mixed media. Now internationally known, her work is in corporate, private, and public collections in the United States and around the globe. As a longtime former resident of Mandarin, her heart has remained with the community she holds dear. Her current project focuses on creating the first and only life-sized sculpture of Harriet Beecher Stowe to be installed in Walter Jones Historical Park. A scale model of the proposed bronze sculpture is currently on display in the Stowe Gallery at Mandarin Museum.

GREG HOLBROOK: The Murray/Sheldon Family of Mandarin & New Smyrna
August 17, 2023

Greg Holbrook, Executive Director of the New Smyrna Museum of History, presented on the Murray/Sheldon family, early 19th-century residents of Mandarin. Originally from Philadelphia, George Murray was a well-known engraver. The family also owned land grants in Mandarin and New Smyrna. Mr. Murray died young, and his wife and children came to Mandarin alone. Their daughter, Jane Murray, married John Dwight Sheldon in what is now Walter Jones Historical Park. Jane and Dwight buried three children on the land before selling the property in 1840. They moved to New Smyrna where they became well-known and distinguished citizens.

WAYNE WOOD: Jacksonville’s Architectural Heritage
May 18, 2023

Wayne Wood presented an intriguing slide presentation based on his new book, Jacksonville’s Architectural Heritage: Bicentennial Edition, as well as stories and little-known facts about some of the city’s most interesting buildings.