The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens is located in the historic Riverside neighborhood of Jacksonville, FL. This museum boasts a world-class collection of art, two exquisite gardens and the largest collection of early Meissen porcelain in North America.
The museum was originally the private home and modest art collection of Ninah Cummer. In 1958 the already widowed Mrs. Cummer decided to bequeath her properties (her home, 60 art pieces, and a lot of money from the lumber industry) to a board of trustees which would in turn create a museum for the general public. In 1961 Mrs. Cummer passed on and the Cummer Museum was born. Within ten years, the collection grew to one thousand pieces. Now the collection is more than five times that.
The entire museum is a single story with multiple wings. (There is space for offices and storage in the top two floors.) The permanent collection rotates every few months and there are three galleries used to display various travelling exhibits.
In recent years the Cummer has shifted its focus to American art, moving away from works of antiquity. The museum has a strong educational program in the form of a children's play area ("Art Connections") and a partnership with local schools. There is also an outreach program for people with special needs in the form of Very Special Arts and the Women of Vision.
The museum has also recently purchased an adjacent property and will eventually expand further, allowing more of their collection to be on display at once.
The most impressive part of the Cummer would be the gardens. There are two, side by side, overlooking the St. Johns river: an Italian and an English garden. The gardens are separated by a huge lawn. There is also a massively sprawling oak tree in the garden and a citrus tree. Each garden has its own secret spaces, nooks and porticos. The garden is a popular space for photography and exclusive private parties.
If you happen to be passing through the area, do yourself a treat and spend a few hours wandering through the gifts of Mrs. Cummer.