On the evening of November 10, 1961, the city of Jacksonville received what would become one of its greatest gifts. That night, more than 1,000 residents and dignitaries welcomed the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens to Jacksonville’s cultural landscape.
The Cummer was established in 1958, when art collector, garden enthusiast and civic leader Ninah Cummer bequeathed the art collection and riverfront home, which she owned with her husband Arthur, to create an art museum. Mrs.
Cummer made an official announcement of the gift a year before her death, imploring community leaders to help support the museum she intended to found: “Naturally no civic undertaking can function adequately without the interest and support of the community in which it is located. Therefore it is hoped that there may be additions to the Foundation from time to time so that this Museum may rank favorably with those established in other cities in the United States during the last few decades."