Shortly after Arthur’s death in 1943, Ninah Cummer turned her attention from her gardens to her passion for art and began to dream about the creation of a museum on her property. While she grew her art collection to number nearly 60 pieces that today are still among the museum’s masterpieces, she also began the process of priming those close to her to fulfill her vision after her death. She wrote, “My contribution to my Art Museum will be to furnish my pictures and the location, and after that others must carry on.” News of this intended bequest leaked to the press in 1957, a year prior to her death, forcing Mrs. Cummer to make an official announcement of the gift. She wrote that her bequests would “make only a small beginning toward a large vision” and hoped “that others will share this vision and by their interest and contributions will help establish here a center of beauty and culture worthy of the community.”
Her dreams were realized when her hand-picked Board of Trustees welcomed more than one thousand guests to the opening of the newly constructed museum, only three years after her death.