On November 11, 1961, Jacksonville residents had their first look at the newly constructed Cummer Museum, built on the site of founders Arthur and Ninah Cummer’s Riverside Avenue home. The Cummer family had a long history of philanthropy in Northeast Florida, and the creation of the museum was something that Ninah Cummer in particular had envisioned for years. Undoubtedly, today’s Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens exemplifies Mrs. Cummer’s “desire to take some small part in the cultural progress of Jacksonville” by creating a Museum “for educational and cultural purposes for the benefit of all the people of the City of Jacksonville” as she outlined in her Last Will and Testament.
One thousand guests attended a preview party the night before, including Jacksonville Mayor Haydon Burns, who said, “The people of Jacksonville have never received a gift comparable in generosity or beauty to the museum… a testament to the heritage of the past and representing the strength and character of those who were leaders of Jacksonville in the past.”
The Cummer Gallery of Art was, indeed, the culmination of the civic, social, and business involvement of a remarkable family. Over the coming months, check back too learn more about the Cummer family, how the museum was developed, and what you can look forward to in the years to come.