The Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens, built on the site of the home of Ninah and Arthur Cummer, opened its doors November 10, 1961. The Museum was the culmination of this couple's remarkable civic, social, and business involvement in northeast Florida.
Mrs. Cummer had a keen interest in art, and purchased her first painting in 1906. Upon Mr. Cummer's death, she began collecting art seriously. Mrs. Cummer's focus expanded from developing her own gardens to the establishment of city parks for public access to garden environments. Mrs. Cummer was instrumental in conserving, preserving, and developing Jacksonville's green spaces. When she died on May 25, 1958, Mrs. Cummer's will established the DeEtte Holden Cummer Museum Foundation and bequeathed the bulk of her estate, including all the works of art, antiques, and the house itself to the foundation for the creation of an art museum. She understood that her fortune alone could not sustain a museum indefinitely.