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Clara White Mission Museum

While not officially established until 1904, the Clara White Mission dates back to 1880s Jacksonville when former slave, Clara English White, feed her hungry neighbors out of her two-room home on Clay Street. Ms. White devoted her life to helping those in need until her death in 1920. After her death, her daughter, Dr. Eartha White, continued the mission work with the purchase of the old Globe Theatre building she adapted for the mission’s work, training and residential use. Today the Clara White Mission is the oldest in Jacksonville, Florida, existing more than 100 years and continuing to serve the needs of the less fortunate in the community.

Clara White

Clara White

Clara White Mission Museum

Clara White Mission Museum

The Weems Collection

The Weems Collection

See this Historical Landmark

See this Historical Landmark

Clara White Clara White
Clara White Mission Museum Clara White Mission Museum
The Weems Collection The Weems Collection
See this Historical Landmark See this Historical Landmark

What to Expect during Your Visit to the Clara White Museum

During your visit to this Jacksonville museum, take a tour of the living quarters where Eartha White lived from 1932 until her death in 1974, located on the second floor of the century-old Globe Theatre building. Period furniture, historical documents and photos of Jacksonville’s past, actively collected by Eartha White throughout her lifetime, offer a unique look into Jacksonville history.

Inside the Clara White Mission Museum

Eartha’s Room

See the beautiful furnishings within Eartha’s living quarters, gifted to Eartha and Clara over the years. Highlights include Eartha’s oak bed, a tiger oak dresser, and a mahogany dresser, all dating back to the Victorian era.

Kitchen

Imagine carrying meals up and down steps all day long. The museum’s second floor kitchen was used to generate the thousands of meals served at the Mission, and until an elevator was added to the building in the mid-1950s, the meals had to be carried down the stairs on foot. In the 1970s a new kitchen replaced the stage adjacent to the downstairs dining room.

Guest Room

The great size of the guest room in comparison to Miss White’s own room demonstrates her devotion to the constant care and comfort to others. Pieces of significance in the guest room include a solid brass bed frame, circa 1900, an empire-style dressing table from 1890 and the oldest piece in the room, a walnut dresser dating back to 1870.  During its use, well-known and influential friends of Eartha White stayed in the room including Mr. and Mrs. Booker T. Washington, Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, James Weldon Johnson and his brother John Rosamond Johnson, and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Look out the guest room’s window and let visible remnants of LaVilla’s jazz heyday take you back to the days when Ashley Street offered a colonnade of fine hotels, clubs and theaters that saw entertainers such as Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.

Dining Room

While the Dining Room at the Clara White Mission was used for dining, it also served as a training room for young ladies enrolled in Miss White’s domestic-instruction program.  Items displayed in the cabinets are from various periods and include a heavy iron, sweet Warwick china with animals and clowns thought to have been used in Ms. White’s orphanage and an elegant domed butter dish of pattern glass.

The Parlor

The Parlor was used to host many activities and community meetings over the years such as chapel services held by Miss White and rehearsals for old Stanton’s chorus and band. Today the Parlor showcases a number of artifacts collected by Eartha White. The violin, viola and harp guitar displayed in the Victorian bookcase reveal Eartha White’s love of music. The Parlor’s cabinet-model Victrola was made in Camden, New Jersey and thought to be one of Miss White’s favorite pieces in the house. Merry Hearts Club placards decorate the west wall and are reminiscent of the citywide Christmas party Miss White organised each year for underprivileged children and adults. Under the window sits an oak captain’s chair with unique detail that dates back to the early 1900s. Inside a gilded Louis XVT cabinet you will find some of Ms. White’s seals, including the Clara White Mission, the Service Laundry Co. and the Union Benevolent Association. A photo on the north wall of the Globe Theatre building when Eartha White moved in will take you back to 1932. At the raised in of the room are Ms. White’s Victorian love seat and chairs. A cabinet to the left of the love seat and chair displays Eartha’s 1961 honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Edward Waters College and a Polaroid camera and 16nun move camera belonging to E.L. Weems.

Travel Tips

- Be sure to wear comfortable footwear.

- Dont miss the Weems Collection!

- Remember to bring your camera.