Cummer Museum

Art and gardening enthusiasts who are enjoying a visit to Jacksonville, Florida will do well to include the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens on their itineraries. This gem of a museum features a permanent collection that is bound to impress, and when you're not admiring the art, you can admire the foliage and fountains in the English and Italian gardens. The gardens at the Cummer Museum sit right on the banks of the St. Johns River, and they are anything but your average gardens. One of the best attractions in Jacksonville, the Cummer Museum of Arts and Gardens deserves a few hours of your time if you're looking for culturally rich things to do when in town.

Found at 829 Riverside Avenue, the Cummer Art Museum in Jacksonville is but a few minutes from Interstate 95, which helps to make it easy to find. Upon arrival, you might not know where to start, as there is quite a lot to take in here. The three-acre grounds beg to be explored, thanks to the stately gardens, which reflect the property's past life as a privately owned Tudor mansion. Formerly the residence of Arthur and Ninah Cummer, the site was converted into a museum in 1961. The small, private art collection of Ninah Cummer, which featured 60 different pieces, was the focus of the museum in the early days. Over time, more than 5,000 works of art were added to Cummer's original collection.

The Cummer Museum boasts some exhibits that you won't want to miss during your visit, one of which is The Wark Collection - Early Meissen Porcelain. Meissen porcelain was the first "hard-paste" porcelain to be produced in Europe. Hard paste porcelain is a kind of hard ceramic porcelain that was first developed in ninth century China. It is an exquisitely beautiful kind of porcelain, and the pieces that can be found in the collection at the Cummer Museum total more than 700. After you take in the porcelain exhibit, you might head over to the European Collection, which features sculptures, paintings, various works on paper, and an array of decorative arts. The pieces in the European Collection date from the twelfth to the twentieth century, and the paintings from the "Old Masters" are of particular interest. These paintings were created by such renowned artists as Gaddi, Rubens, and Snyders, to name a few.

In addition to the European Collection, the Cummer Art Museum in Jacksonville also features the American Art Collection. Like the European Collection, the American Art Collection boasts sculptures, paintings, works on paper, and decorative arts. The nineteenth century landscapes and portraits are among the highlights, and while the names are too many to list when it comes to the artists, Moran, Stuart, and Miller figure among them. Between the European Collection and the American Art Collection, you could easily spend a few hours admiring piece after piece, so you might look to visit the museum more than once.

After you've had your fill of art at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, you can wander out to the romantic gardens for a spell. You might also check out the Art Connections education center, which features some interesting hands-on exhibits for museum visitors to enjoy. As for the gardens, they are simply dazzling and feature lush plants, beautiful fountains, calming reflecting pools, and some attractive sculptures. There's definitely a lot to take in during your visit to the Cummer Art Museum in Jacksonville, and rumor has it that the museum campus is due to grow in size, which will only serve to enhance the experience.

The Cummer Museum is open on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, it is open between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Should you prefer a weekend visit, it is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Should you visit on Tuesday between the hours of 4 p.m. and 9 p.m., you will get in free thanks to the Players Golf Tournament, which is held at the TPC at Sawgrass Golf Course in nearby Ponte Vedra. The rates at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens are more than reasonable if you aren't able to visit on Tuesday evening, and discounts are available for seniors, military personnel, and college students who remember to bring their college IDs.

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